Intellectual property: the basics


You can protect the shape or arrangement of three-dimensional objects in two ways. You will automatically be granted design right, and in the UK this gives you protection from copying or misuse by other people or businesses.

You can also register a design. This may give stronger protection and allow you to extend your design right to other countries. For more information, see our guide on design right and registration.

You must avoid infringing another owner's design right. If you want to use someone else's design, you may be able to come to an arrangement with the rights owner.

You cannot register two-dimensional designs such as textile patterns, wallpaper designs, or graphic design and they do not have automatic design right. If you want to protect them, you should use copyright. See the page in this guide on copyright.

Subjects covered in this guide


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Intellectual Property Office