Essay on IP Law Design
Number of words: 1200
Most of the work of designers involves the creation of intellectual property (IP). Therefore, IP is an important business asset that can catapult businesses to success, if designers and enterprises know how to protect it (Bently and Sherman 2014; Waelde et al., 2014). One generates an IP in cases where he/she creates a new or original product. Obtaining an IP right allows an individual to protect his/her designs and ideas. IP laws, thus seek manly to protect creative designs and ideas (Bently and Sherman 2014). IP rights enable firms to prevent their designs and ideas from being copied or misused by other parties. This paper presents advice to Joey and Thuta (the CEO and COO of Leiho Company respectively) on three main areas of IP, namely fashion design, logo design and strap line design.
In the fashion industry, the protection of fashion designs mainly falls under registered or unregistered design rights. It is usually more beneficial for companies and individuals to register their fashion designs (Torremans 2019). However, fashion design can be protected in the European Union under the unregistered design rights for a maximum of three years, provided the given fashion design meets some specified criteria (Torremans 2019). The main requirement for a fashion design to be registered is that it should have an ‘individual character’ and be ‘new.’ Once a fashion design has got registered, it can be protected for a maximum of twenty-five years (Dutfield 2017). Arguably, the main advantage of a registered design is that one enjoys longer protection compared to the unregistered designs. Registered designs are also advantageous in instances where one’s design is either infringed or contested (Waelde et al., 2014). And where one has to provide evidence to bolster his/her case. Where one feels that his/her design rights have been either infringed or violated, he/she has to provide evidence on the date of the specific design rights, the act of copying, and the ownership of the copying rights (Gibson 2017). Some of the items that can be protected under fashion design include drawings, fashion items, original stitches on clothing.
In the UK and other jurisdictions, logo designs generally get considered as intellectual property. Undoubtedly, a substantial amount of time gets invested in designing logos to make them representatives of companies. In most cases, logos are usually registered as trademarks (Keeling et al., 2018). Registering logos as trademarks protect individuals and businesses from theft by third parties and concomitant problems.
However, not all logos are eligible for protection. A logo design will only be eligible for protection in cases where it is not unique but also not just a mere description of the product’s that a given company offers; for instance, one cannot register ‘BREAD’ as a logo for a company that offers baking products (Keeling et al.,2018; Pila and Torremans 2019). Arguably, this is because it would be challenging to monitor infringement since the members of the public and the customers will likely use the name in describing the products offered by the given individual or company.
Before Leiho Company can register its logo designs, it will be imperative to check no other company has registered a similar logo. Some of the registers where Leiho Company can check include the UK trademark register, the community trademark register, and the International trademark register. Registering logos is a straightforward process and one can do it by himself/herself (Prime 2017). However, since registering logos entails entering a legal agreement, one should seek expert legal advice. Leiho Company should seek legal advice since it intends to register logos that will be a representative of the company in the international markets.
Additionally, Leiho Company should note that if they seek to protect their logo from infringement in the EU and the International market, the registration will likely take a long time and will be costly. Usually, the activation of logos in the EU takes one year, which is about twice the time it takes for the activation of logos in the UK (Prime 2017). Leiho Company will also need to identify the class that its logo design falls since the registration of logo design is based on different classes.
Strap-line designs are registered long-term assets of a company. Strap line designs usually sum up the essence of companies and their brands. Strap line transcends describing what a given product does or its features. Strap-line designs capture the values and ethos that a given enterprise stands for (Prime 2017; Turner 2015). They also capture the personality of companies and their brands. Strap-line designs usually have to be precise and short enough to be remembered while at the same time, being memorable. Ordinarily, strap line should also be signs of successful thinking. Besides, the strap line should position a specific enterprise or brand in the context of its competitors. For strap line designs to be registered, they have to be unique and novel. Novelty, in design law, means that a given design should differ from other previous designs by more than just the immaterial features and details (Turner 2015).
Registered and Unregistered designs
In the preceding section, the concept of registered and unregistered designs got mentioned, albeit limitedly. Registered and unregistered designs bestow upon the owners’ different sets of rights (Jones and Benson 2016). Unregistered designs bestow upon the owners the right to reproduce a given design for commercial purposes. Infringement of the unregistered designs happens when third parties copy them. A registered design gives their owners a monopoly on the right to reproduce a specific design (Gibson 2017). As a result, this means that other third parties cannot incorporate a registered design in their products, notwithstanding whether he/she copied the design or knew about it.
In summary, the paper has shown that IP management involves the recognition, protection, exploitation, and enforcement. Fashion, Strap line, and Logo designs are usually recognised once they are registered. Registering designs provides them with protection against copying from other individuals. Copying the designs of other constitutes an infringement of IP rights and is enforceable in law.
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