The UK Government has launched a consultation on a proposal to reduce the official fees for UK Registered Designs. The magnitude of the proposed cost savings is such that for some applications (e.g. those including 20 designs) the official fees for filing a UK Registered Design application would reduce by almost 90%. The proposal also affects Renewal Fees for UK Registered Designs. Over the lifetime of a design this could result in Renewal Fee savings of more than 60%.
The proposal to reduce fees reflects the reduced costs associated with new online filing procedures. If the proposals are implemented this would increase the attractiveness of UK Registered Designs relative to European Registered Designs. At present, the additional cost of a European Design application (which covers all 28 EU member states) compared to a UK Registered Design application is such that applicants often choose European protection even if they are predominantly interested in the UK market.
The reduced costs may also be of interest to designers who currently rely on UK Unregistered Design rights. Such unregistered designs are generally harder to enforce than Registered Designs because they require the designer to be able to prove when they created their designs and that an infringer has actually copied the original design. With a Registered Design, protection begins with the date of filing the application and is a monopoly right not requiring one to prove copying in order to take enforcement action against an infringer.