Important Design Law Change in the UK

Criminal sanctions for intentionally copying a registered design

Changes to UK design law made by the Intellectual Property Act 2014 come into effect on 1 October 2014. Probably the most significant change is a new criminal offence for the intentional copying of a UK or EU registered design.

To be found guilty, a person or company must intentionally copy a design, without the consent of its owner, whilst knowing (or having reason to believe) the design is registered. It is also an offence to knowingly use, market, export, import or stock the copied design.

The offence carries a penalty of a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of 10 years.

For more details of this and other changes to design law please see this business guidance document produced by the UK Intellectual Property Office.