Design Rights - Technical Function and Interface Features
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12 September 2011
The Registered Designs Act 1949 gave rise
to design rights for items which are manufactured. This grants
protection for a period of 25 years from registration on the basis that
the design in question is new and possesses individual character.
The Act makes clear, however, that
technical functions and interface features are not capable of
protection as design rights.
Section 1C of the Act states that registration
may not take place where features are determined "solely by the
product's technical function". The word "solely" is important here, as
a product which is capable of taking on a separate design, thererby
giving rise to a different appearance is more likely to be capable of
Section 1C(2) of the Act states that a
feature of the design which is required to be of an exact shape so as
to fit into, around or against another product to enable the product to
function properly is incapable of registration. This does not make the
whole of the product incapable of registration, although the interface
feature will almost certainly not be registrable.
Section 1C(3) states that section 1C(2) is
not applicable where construction or assembly of modular products is
required. This removes the problem in relation to tools and furniture
which are increasingly modular in design, allowing for the removal and
replacement of certain parts. Such designs are, however, still subject
to the requirements of novelty and individual character.
By Aasim Durrani. Aasim is a
legal assistant to Izaz Ali and can be contacted on
About the Author
Lawdit Solicitors offer services and
advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal
agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on
Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the
International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court
Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign
association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-10-12 16:44:32 in Legal Articles