Design rights

Design rights

Excellent service and legal advice from team specialising in design rights and intellectual property delivering an amazing client experience for companies in the UK.

Design rights covers the protection of your 3D designs whether it is a shoe, dress, wheel of a car or lawnmower whereas copyright protects your 2D works like design drawings.

Whilst design rights have been around for a long time they really came to prominence in 2002 when the European design right was created. This protected designs across the whole of Europe and gave designers the opportunity to try out designs over a 12 month period after which they could register them for 25 years protection. We offer a fixed fee design registration service enabling you to have a one-stop-shop for your design right needs.

In the event that the product was seasonal or limited in number the designer could elect not to register the design and still obtain 3 years protection across Europe.

The European design right has opened up a whole new world of protection as it not only applies to the whole design but also any parts of it especially where a feature is created from a contour, shape, texture or material used.

We have been very active, since the European design right came into force, in advising clothing and footwear designers, car manufacturers, food retailers and many other consumer goods companies on "best practice" to create their own protectable design right and how not to copy other people's design rights but take inspiration from them instead.

Our work has been the subject of great media interest including when we stopped Marks & Spencer from selling ladies clutch bags, which looked like those of our client Jimmy Choo, and when Topshop had to withdraw its yellow dress because of its uncanny resemblance to our client, Chloe's, design. It also prompted Edward Fennell, legal journalist of The Times to say we were "the legal label to die for".

A lot of our work is in helping design teams within companies understand the difference between "inspired by" and "copied" thus preventing problems with design right issues.

Our reputation in this area is second to none as confirmed by one of our partners, Gary Assim, being included in Drapers Top 100 Most Powerful & Influential People in fashion list.

Work highlights

  • Creating strategy to deal with online design right issues for leading footwear designer and retailer 
  • Developing "zero tolerance" process to deal with design right issues quickly and cost effectively 
  • Training various design teams on what makes a protectable design right and how not to copy others 
  • Successfully enforcing an UK court order for design right infringement across Europe using our international network of associate law firms 
  • Advising leading ladies clothing retailer on a design right issue with one of its iconic dresses which was being copied around Europe and the US