Thu 13th Jul 2023

Increase in applications for registered designs in the UK

Service: Design rights


Having previously been a somewhat forgotten right in the intellectual property world, Dominic Weston explores the increase in businesses seeking registered design protection, with a large increase in UK design registration filings. 


Businesses have been protecting the appearance of their packaging and the appearance of their products, as a relatively lower cost form of intellectual property protection.  


Traditionally, UK businesses were less inclined than German and Italian companies to seek registered design rights.  Now, the importance of the appearance of the packaging and product is recognised as meriting protection by registration.  


Taking the month of January as an example, monthly application numbers for designs in the UK have increased as follows:


January 2018                      1658

January 2019                      2505

January 2020                      2082

January 2021                      4792

January 2022                      5288

January 2023                      6307


UKIPO Design filings in May 2023 of 7230 were one of the highest monthly totals in the last 5 years.  This compares with around 1727 patent applications and 13,000 trade marks in that month.  


We regularly assist with the protection of designs, particularly of medical devices, electronic equipment such as label makers, packaging shapes such as cans and bottles, fashion items such as jewellery, logos, household goods and sporting and gaming equipment.  


If you have a design that you would like to protect, please contact David Roberts or Dominic Weston.


This briefing is for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. We can discuss specific issues and facts on an individual basis. Please note that the law may have changed since the day this was first published in July 2023.


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