The UK IPO recently announced that the official fees for UK Registered Designs are due to be reduced. It is planned that, from October 2016, the costs for renewing a UK Registered Design will be significantly lower. Savings on official renewal fees will range from £60 to £310.
The reduction in fees stems from the results of a government-led proposal to assess the current fees. The aim is to offer better value for money in the digital age.
In the wake of the recent UK referendum, the reduction in official fees for UK designs is a welcome move.
At such time as the UK is no longer a member of the EU, it will not be possible to obtain design protection in the UK via a ‘Community’ or EU Registered Design, which provides protection in all of the Member States of the EU.
Therefore, reducing the cost of acquiring design protection should reduce the barrier for SMEs taking the first steps towards protecting their designs in the UK.
UK DESIGN APPLICATION FEES
Fees for UK Registered Design applications could soon be reduced too. For example, the costs related to filing a UK design application are expected to become lower. This is due to the new online filing system for applying for a UK Registered Design, which was launched earlier in 2016.
Similarly, if you have a series of different designs for one particular product, the cost savings for filing a series of designs may also fall significantly. For instance, the official fees for filing a series of up to 10 designs online could be as low as £70.
This compares very favourably to the existing official fees, which are currently £420 if filing for a series of 10 UK Registered Designs.
EU TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS
It is expected that there will be transitional provisions in place for existing EU Registered Designs. The provisions should allow them to maintain their current scope of protection. This may involve splitting the design into separate UK and EU registrations, for example. Therefore, if you have a Community/EU Registered Design, there is no need to worry about losing any of your rights.
That said, if the UK is no longer part of the EU in future, it will be necessary to obtain separate UK design protection. In this regard, the reduced official fees charged by the UK IPO should minimise the financial toll of acquiring separate design protection.