Expertise Design Rights

We advise on all aspects of design protection, management, and enforcement. Our combined design management and litigation practice offers significant strength and depth to clients looking for a rounded offering.

Our international team of lawyers are recognised experts in designs. In addition to their daily practice, they teach and examine design and related copyright law in depth on the University of Oxford Post Graduate Diploma in IP Law and Practice and regularly speak and write on designs law.

Beyond the UK and Belgium, we use a range of trusted advisers in other jurisdictions to assist us in co-ordinating and supervising designs work globally.

Design rights play an increasingly important role in intellectual property protection, and often may overlap with other forms of protection such as trade marks, copyright, or patents, but can reach further into voids which other rights may not protect.

Design rights can be used to protect both 3D and 2D objects or designs, from cars, furniture, and products, through to fabric patterns, computer games characters, and graphical icons and interfaces used on screens.

Different features and varied scope of registered and unregistered design law, both domestic UK and Belgian law and EU derived law, means there is a complex legal landscape. We are well-placed to help you seek the best protection and enforcement strategies for your business.

Our design work includes:

  • Design strategy: we help set designs strategy whether as part of a wider product or brand protection strategy or in isolation for specific designs.
  • Design searches and risk reports: we help clients assess the risk landscape before launching a new design or product.
  • Design applications, registrations, and portfolio management: we offer a full design management service. Whether you want to protect a new design or wish to review and streamline your existing design portfolio, our lawyers will provide you with bespoke, strategic advice and portfolio management services. We advise clients on registration procedures and assist in devising the right filing strategy and portfolio management approach for the needs of your designs and budget.
  • Integrated practice: our design management practice sits alongside our dispute resolution and commercial practices to ensure that we are there to help you develop and protect all aspects of your business.
  • Contentious Registry proceedings and designs litigation: our dispute resolution practice has extensive experience of designs-related disputes, including advising on issues relating to: registered design infringement and validity; unregistered design subsistence and infringement and related copyright claims; ownership and title; contractual disputes; licences of right; settlement and co-existence agreements. We have significant experience of co-ordinating and managing cross-border disputes.
  • Enforcement programmes: we help clients manage enforcement problems through targeted programmes of action and grouping matters together to enable efficient instructions and action.
  • Anti-counterfeiting: we work closely with Incopro, a business Wiggin originally co-founded, whose Talisman system provides a design monitoring and enforcement service. Incopro has subsequently been acquired by Corsearch but together we continue to provide clients with a one-stop online brand protection and anti-counterfeiting service.
  • IP audits and due diligence: we assist businesses as they grow and change, recognising the importance of taking stock and considering whether your portfolio is structured appropriately and strikes the right balance between protection and cost-effectiveness.
  • Licensing, distribution and agency agreements: we can assist in developing licensing strategies for clients’ designs, and will draft and negotiate licence agreements with both UK, Belgian and international reach.
  • Co-existence agreements: we can help negotiate and document settlement or other agreements to bring disputes to an end.