An article or process that can be made and used. It must be –
- NEW (i.e. must remain confidential before any application is made), and
- INVENTIVE – Not just a simple modification of something that already exists
They can be expensive, difficult to obtain and they may take 2 – 5 years to be Granted.
They have a maximum life of 20 years from the date of filing and need renewing every year once granted (UK) or after 3 years from filing (Europe). Protection may be extended to other countries and if within 12 months, the foreign application can claim the original filing date.
You can register the look of your design, including its
- Physical shape
- Configuration (how parts fit together)
They are relatively inexpensive and to obtain and may be granted immediately in some countries. They can last between 7 – 25 years from filing depending on the country. In the UK & Europe they last for 25 years if renewed every 5 years. In the US they only last for 14 years from grant, but there are no renewal fees.
You can register your brand or name of your product or process as a trademark providing it is unique. They may include
- Logos or images
The costs for registering a Trademark are generally more than that required for a Registered Design, but significantly less than for a Patent. The life of a Trademark may be indefinite, provided that renewal fees are paid (approx. every 10 years) and the mark does not fall into common usage.