The Structures Framework allows rights holders to protect structures and enforce their rights. The call for views sought views and evidence on opportunities for structural improvement in the UK. This will help the Government to ensure that the UK design framework works for the designers, businesses and consumers who use it.
Responses to the call for views were received in three broad areas – new opportunities, future technologies and better regulation. The government response contains a summary of the responses received. It sets out issues for further consideration, including areas for future consultation. These problems include:
- how to simplify the mode of constructions, in particular for unregistered samples
- how to improve guidance for designers, including those who do not normally interact with government directly
- search and examination options
- the relationship between design law and copyright, and if there is a need for reform or guidance
- concerns about disclosure requirements for additional unregistered samples, including uncertainty regarding concurrent disclosure
- if the current format requirements for submitting designs should be updated
- how to ensure that the design system is flexible enough to support evolving technologies
- options for possible deferment
- measures that may be introduced to facilitate enforcement for all rights holders
- evidence supporting views on expanding criminal sanctions for infringement of unregistered designs
The UK has a vibrant design industry. A design framework that supports designers and encourages overseas investment will help give the UK a competitive edge. Following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU), we have new opportunities to define the domestic designs regime. As the UK trades with international partners, a modern and flexible design framework will help us make the most of these new opportunities and help our design industry flourish.
Intellectual Property Office Chief Executive Tim Moss said:
In a competitive global market, great design helps British products stand out, demonstrate quality and attract new customers around the world.
The framework of the structure is the most important element of ours IP system. With this review, we want to ensure that it remains able to meet the challenges of an increasingly digital future, helping to unlock the potential of the UK’s creative and innovative industries.
Matthew Ridley, Chair of the Designs and Copyright Committee of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, said:
We appreciated the opportunity to respond to the invitation for views and look forward to further input during the consultation. We are pleased that the Government’s response recognizes the benefits of the existing speed and value of the UK design registration system.
Further consultation will provide further opportunity to identify improvements to the UK design framework – particularly in the area of simplifying the unregistered design and copyright systems, taking into account the search and examination of registered designs and the introduction of an agreed standstill provision under UK law. We look forward to further engagement with the government in these important areas.
Kat Drew, Chief Design Officer at the Design Council, said:
The design economy is a significant and growing driver of economic growth. Our exit from the EU, the disruption of the Covid pandemic and the climate emergency are forcing us to reconfigure and rebuild global trade routes. An IP a framework that supports all designers and protects sustainable and fair innovation will help ensure that the design economy remains a major driver of exports.
The climate emergency requires us to restructure almost every aspect of our lives. Global cooperation is crucial. We need it IP a system that allows ideas to be shared and disseminated while protecting and rewarding imagination and creativity.
We welcome IPOrecognizes that these are complex issues and looks forward to further consultation with them to properly address this issue.
Notes for editors:
- Office of Intellectual Property (IPO) is the government body responsible for ensuring that the design framework supports rightholders to protect designs and preserve their rights
- the call for views ran for 8 weeks from January to March 2022 and received 57 responses. The IPO also held a series of round tables
- in addition to the call for views, Art IPO published a survey aimed at people who are interested in designs and how to protect them, but do not consider themselves experts in IP. 288 responses were submitted to the survey
- Responses to the request for views were received from designers (5), design consultants (2), academics (2), law firms and professionals (17), legal and professional organizations (7), other trade organizations (10), small and medium businesses (SME) (9), large enterprises (4) and others (1)
- responses to the designer survey came mostly from solo designers (58%) and small businesses employing fewer than 10 people (22%). This provides further insight into how these groups use design protection in the UK