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Information: Protection of Designs in the UK

There is no copyright protection for ideas or concepts as such.

It is only when those ideas are expressed in a form from which they can be reproduced or copied i.e. as a literary or artistic work that those ideas attract copyright protection;

To attract copyright protection, a work must be original, i.e. the author’s own creation: not copied, but the result of exercising independent skill, labour and judgement;

Copyright protection is automatic and exists from the moment a work takes a form from which it can be reproduced (e.g. a drawing or computer record);

Generally, two dimensional works (graphics, surface decoration) attract copyright protection;

Other types of work could be protected as patents, designs or trade marks (see information sheet listing for more on Patents and Trade Marks);

Patents, designs and trade marks are normally registered in some form. There is no registration system for copyright (see Information Sheet 11 – Registration of copyright protected works) or (unregistered) design right;

There are several types of protection afforded to designs; these vary depending on whether the work is in three dimensions or in two dimensions.


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