registering copywrite or design rights for a new kids toy

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registering copywrite or design rights for a new kids toy

Post by cunningham »

After searching online and getting myself more and more confused, I was hoping somebody could explain the basics to me of what I need to do for the following to protect the design/manufacture and copying?

I would like to have a small kids toy made (similar to a rubber duck), with original design and a name / trademark.
I have looked online and it says you can't copywrite such items.

What do I need to do to protect it from being copied/used without permission?
Is it a design issue? Trademark issue? Both?

I would really appreciate any help in as simple terms as possible :D .

Many thanks.
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Re: registering copywrite or design rights for a new kids toy

Post by AndyJ »

Hi cunningham,

It sounds like this is a design right issue. It is ideal for the design of a practical item. There are two types of Design Right: registered and unregistered. Both apply to the shape or configuration of the item, rather than its function. Unregistered design right (UDR) comes into play automatically as soon as the product is made available to the public, provided that the design is original, that is to say, it is not commonplace or so similar to another design that a relatively attentive person would think they were the same. UDR lasts for 15 years from the date of the first design drawing or 10 years from the date the work was first made available to the public, which ever is the shorter. UDR does not protect any surface decoration, such as colour.

Registered Design Right (RDR) only applies once the design has been registered with the UK Intellectual Property Office (see details here). RDR provides greater protection, firstly because it can also apply to surface decoration and provided the registration is re-newed, it can last for 25 years.

Bear in mind that a UK UDR or RDR only applies in the UK. If you want similar protection in, say, the EU or worldwide, there are other things you have to do, and of course that costs more. More details on the IPO link given above.

Trade marks can be used to protect the brand name of the item, or the company which makes it, but it doesn't really offer any protection to the design of the item itself. There are a very cases where the shape of a product (for instance a perfume bottle) has been registered as a trade mark, but by and large this is not a good route to go down just to protect the design.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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