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What are Design Rights ?

A registered design protects the visual appearance of a product or item and gives you exclusive rights for that appearance to the extent that, if necessary, there is a legal right to stop an unauthorised party from producing or using your design.

Registered Design Rights

Design rights protect the way a product looks. If the design has a technical function or the appearance of the product comes naturally as a result of the function that it performs, then a design right may not be suitable.

In order for a registered design to be valid, it must:

- Be new (no similar or identical designs registered in the Bailiwick of Guernsey)

- Have individual character (the appearance of the design is different to any existing designs)

- Be already registered in an approved overseas jurisdiction (see regulations - link below)

A design is not registrable if it:

- Does not have individual character

- Is offensive

- Is solely dictated by the product's function

Unregistered Design Rights

In addition to the register of designs which is held at the Intellectual Property Office, the States of Guernsey also has provisions in place for the protection of unregistered designs.

The protection granted to the owner of an unregistered design is different to that of a registered design. Careful consideration should be exercised when deciding whether or not to register your design along with reference to the Unregistered Designs (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance, 2005. The Intellectual Property Office can provide you with public service information regarding unregistered designs, but for advice on the interpretation of the legislation it may be necessary to seek professional legal advice.