Both IP practitioners and designers will welcome the guidance published on 1 June 2016 by the UK Intellectual Property Office about the filing of new UK registered designs. The guidance follows hot on the heels of the high profile and hotly debated March decision of the Supreme Court in the Trunki suitcase dispute between PMS International Limited and Magmatic Limited [2016] UK SC12.

In this increasingly complicated area it remains important to obtain independent legal advice about what design(s) to register to obtain the strongest enforceable design protection. Indeed the guidance does stress that it is always up to the courts to interpret the scope and breadth of protection of a design and so advice should be obtained.

However the new guidance is a very helpful starting point to consider what designs or features of design to protect and the possible benefits and disadvantages of filing particular images or drawings of the design – whether pencil drawings, photos, block line drawings or computer generated images. The guidance also contains guidance on the possible benefits of using limitation or disclaimers when seeking to clearly define the design protection sought (for example only shape).

In light of the often conflicting and in some cases very critical interpretation of the recent Supreme Court decision being the death knell of registered designs, the guidance note is worth a read for anyone considering the best form of design right protection to obtain.