Archive for the ‘Design Law’ Category

New Media Law moves!

On Monday 8th December, New Media Law moved from Little Portland Street in Noho, to Hanover Square in Mayfair.

The full address of our new office is:

24 Hanover Square

London, W1S 1JD

All other contact details remain as they were previously.

We look forward to welcoming you to our new office very soon!

The Intellectual Property Act 2014 and design rights

In the UK design law is primarily governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) and the Registered Designs Act 1949 (RDA).

On 1 October 2014 the Intellectual Property Act 2014 came into force which makes, amongst other, two small but significant changes to design law.

Ownership of commissioned works retained by creator

Under previous law, both unregistered and registered UK design law stated that where a design was created in pursuance of a commission agreement/arrangement, the person commissioning the design is the first owner of any design right. The 2014 Act changes this to a position where the owner of the design- registered or unregistered- will now be the designer unless otherwise contractually agreed by both parties.

The effect will be an increase in commissioning agreements that clearly outline the rights of each party. Outlining such rights will avoid any uncertainty as to who owns the design rights concerned. The position under an employment contract with regards to the ownership of registered designs created by an employee remains unchanged. In this case the employer will continue to own the rights attached to the design created in the course of employment.

Unauthorised Copying

Under previous law, there were no criminal sanctions for infringement of registered designs. This has now changed through section 13 IPA 2014, which has the effect of creating criminal sanctions for infringement of registered design rights of imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or to a fine or to both. This applies to the jurisdictions of England, Wales and Scotland. An important proviso is that the person must know or have reason to believe that the design is a registered design upon committing the offence.

This has the effect of protecting rights owners further especially in matters that involve counterfeit products and designs. It is important to remember that this provision only applies to registered designs. 

Whether this will prove to be a sufficient deterrent is yet to be confirmed by future case law and the impact it will have.


Paida Dube, Intern, New Media Law LLP



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