Designs protection in a post-Brexit World
Currently, protection of Registered Designs throughout the European Union can be achieved through a Registered Community Design (RCD), which also covers the UK. The RCD is a unitary right, and therefore it is logical that once the UK has left the EU, an RCD will no longer provide protection in the UK. As with so many areas of business, there is still a lack of certainty over how RCDs will operate once the UK has finally left the European Union. However, the Government has recently confirmed that the UK will be seeking to join the Hague Agreement with the aim of applications being available from the UK from April 2018.
The Hague system is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and enables an applicant to apply for a design in multiple jurisdictions in a single application. The EU is a member of the system but the UK is presently not a member in its own right. Once the UK has joined the system UK applicants will still be able to obtain protection for their design in both the UK and the EU using the Hague system. An added benefit is that other member countries outside the EU can be protected at the same time.