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Designs protect the way an object looks – designs do not protect the way something functions.
Rights in designs can be based on registered or unregistered rights (which provided certain criteria are met, can arise automatically in the case of the latter). Whilst we do not apply for registered design rights at JCP Solicitors, we do regularly draft agreements that relate to designs. Examples of these agreements would be assignments and licences of designs and work relating to research and collaboration agreements.
A change in the law – you may be aware that as of October 2014 the law relating to designs changed. Where as it used to be the case that designs were owned by a commissioning party, now the creator will own the design even if it is created pursuant to a commission (there are some exceptions). This means that anyone dealing with a third party in the creation of a design will need to ensure that a contract is put in place at the outset setting out who owns the rights in the design and how it can be exploited. We can help you with this.