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Information: Surface Designs

If a designer creates a graphic design to be applied to the surface of a product, for example, a tile and that design has not been copied from any other source then it is “original” in the copyright sense.

“Original” means that the work originates with the author. It is their own creation: not copied, but the result of exercising independent skill, labour and judgement.

Original graphic designs are protected by copyright law as artistic works (see Information Sheet – Graphic Designs).

Surface designs for products can also be registered (see Information Sheet – Product Designs).

Before production, research into what is already available in the market would be worthwhile.

The British Copyright Council does not operate a copyright advice service and the above information should not be treated as legal advice. If you require further information or assistance then please contact a specialist lawyer.


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