In most jurisdictions the representation of a design has great importance – and almost sole importance – within a registered design, since it is often the representations that determine the scope of protection. As a result, it is crucial to get the representation right so as to ensure effective protection – broad enough to cover the design for which protection is sought, but not too broad so as to invalidate the registration.

Types of design representation

Many forms of representations are acceptable, such as photographs, line drawings and CAD drawings, and they may each come with their own limitations on the scope of protection. So what form the representations take is just one of many factors to consider when preparing representations.

There are many ways in which representations can be adapted to suit the scope of protection sought. For example, features for which protection is not sought can be disclaimed in the representations. In addition, important transitional features of a design can also be represented through transitions in the representation; this might, for example, apply for Graphical User Interfaces.

Cost-effective IP protection

For robust protection, several registered design applications can be filed, each with a slightly differing scope of protection. In Europe and the UK ‘multi-part’ applications make cascading protection by filling several applications cost-efficient. 

Tone, colour, shape, highlighting and disclaiming can be used in various combinations to protect actual embodiments of a design and – separately – key design features also. This approach should provide thorough protection for the look and feel of a design at a comparatively low cost compared to other forms of intellectual property.