Knowledge & News

Reduced UK design fees help ease Brexit uncertainty

6 November 2017

The result of the EU referendum has led to some uncertainty over the future effect within the UK of Community (EU) designs.  We do not yet know how existing Community registrations will work once the UK leaves the EU, or what options will be available to UK designers looking to apply to protect their designs at home and abroad.

Happily, last year’s reduction in UK design fees has made it easier for designers to adopt a sensible “belt and braces” approach and consider filing both Community (EU) and UK applications for the same design.

The UK government reduced UK design fees from 1 October 2016, following a consultation in January of that year.  Fees had remained unchanged for ten years, and were based upon the paper system of filing applications.  The introduction of an online system to streamline design registration has allowed the UKIPO to reduce its costs, and these savings are being passed on to applicants.

The official fee for filing a single UK design application online is just £50 (the paper application fee remains £60). The official fee for filing multiple online designs is just £70 for up to 10 designs, and only £20 for every ten subsequent designs.  This represents a significant reduction from the previous fee structure, which was £60 for the first design and £40 for each subsequent design.

Renewal fees have also been slashed, as shown below.  UK design registrations are renewable every five years up to a maximum of twenty-five years, and the cost of maintaining a design registration for its full term is now just £410.  While drastically reduced, the new fee structure still ensures that designers think carefully about paying to renew registrations that are no longer useful; once a registration lapses, the design it covers can be legitimately put to use by third parties.

  Official fee prior to October 2016 Current official fee
First renewal
(after 5 years)
£130 £70
Second renewal
(after 10 years) 
£210 £90
Third renewal
(after 15 years) 
£320 £110
Final renewal
(after 20 years)
£450 £140

According to the UK Design Council’s comprehensive 2015 report “The Design Economy”, design contributed £71.7bn to the UK economy in 2013, and employed 5% of the UK workforce. Hopefully, the recent reduction in UK design fees will ensure that talented designers can continue to protect their valuable intellectual property, both at home and in the rest of Europe, through Brexit and beyond.

For further information on Brexit and Intellectual Property, please see our Brexit page.

Authors

Susan Bradley

Susan Bradley Associate Oxford (UK) Chartered (UK) and European Patent Attorney

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