In the United States of America, the protection afforded is known as Design Patent (not to be confused with Utility Patents. The USPTO defines a Design Patent as:


'A design consists of the visual ornamental characteristics embodied in, or applied to, an article of manufacture. Since a design is manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a design patent application may relate to the configuration or shape of an article, to the surface ornamentation applied to an article, or to the combination of configuration and surface ornamentation.'


The US patent law provides for the granting of design patents to:


'...any person who has invented any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. A design patent protects only the appearance of the article and not structural or utilitarian features. '


In the United Kingdom and across the European Community, the protection afforded in known as Registered Designs (not to be confused with design right (unregistered in nature)). The IPO defines the Registered Design right as:


Registered Designs give you exclusive rights in a design, in the UK, for up to 25 years. You can stop people making, offering, putting on the market, importing, exporting, using or stocking for those purposes, a product to which your design is applied. You can protect two-dimensional designs or surface patterns as well as shape and configuration with a Registered Design.


Applying to register



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