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  • Writer's pictureRosie Burbidge

Are changes to UK design law coming?

The UK government published its response to the call for views on reviewing the designs framework in the UK on 12 July 2022. In short, nothing is going to change yet… but further reviews are planned of several issues identified by users.

The government received 57 responses in total, comprising 5 from designers, 2 from design consultants, 2 from academics, 17 from legal firms and professionals, 7 from legal trade bodies and professional bodies, 10 from other trade bodies, 9 from small and medium size enterprises, 4 from large enterprises and 1 other.

The call for views sought feedback from stakeholders on issues including novelty searching for registered designs, enforcement, and disclosure of supplementary unregistered designs.

Further consideration

The government summarised respondents’ views and identified the following issues for further consideration:

  • The government is considering joining the WIPO DAS system for designs as part of the IPO digital transformation programme.

  • It will look at ways to simplify the designs regime, in particular for unregistered designs; consider the relationship between design and copyright law; and improve guidance for designers.

  • It will seek additional views and evidence on disclosure requirements for supplementary unregistered designs.

  • The deferment provision will be considered, and views sought by consultation.

  • The government will consider whether it can introduce measures to make enforcement easier, and seek further evidence on criminal sanctions.

Next Steps

The government summary, and all of the responses received, can be viewed on the UK IPO website.

While there are no significant changes planned immediately, the government has indicated that it will look further into several issues raised by users – which could lead to proposals for changes in the future. We will continue to monitor this topic and provide updates on key developments.

It is also important to note that reforms to the EU design regime are under discussion and may be published later this year, so there are a lot of design law developments for businesses to pay attention to at the moment!

To find out more about the issues raised in this blog contact Rosie Burbidge, Intellectual Property Partner at Gunnercooke LLP in London -


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