How are registered designs enforced in the UK and in Europe?

How are registered designs enforced in the UK and in Europe?

Infringement proceedings to enforce a registered Community design will take place in a Community Design court of an EU member state that has jurisdiction to hear the matter.

In England and Wales, proceedings regarding UK registered designs may be heard at the High Court or, for cases involving limited claims of up to £500,000, at the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC). In Scotland, proceedings regarding designs may be heard at the Court of Session.

The remedies available against an infringer include an injunction (known as an interdict in Scotland) to prevent continued infringement of a registered design, seizure of infringing products, or materials or implements used in their manufacture, and damages for past infringements. Interim injunctions may be available to restrain use of a design before the matter has been decided at full trial. In fact, many cases in which interim injunctions are granted never reach full trial. The courts in Scotland tend to be more disposed to granting interim relief than the English courts. This can be a relevant factor in assessing whether to bring an action in Scotland, where a choice of forum exists.

In relation to registered Community designs, if an action is heard in a member state which is the domicile of either the defendant or the claimant, then the court may grant a Europe-wide injunction.

In addition, criminal proceedings regarding intentional copying of registered designs may be initiated by Trading Standards Officers or by the proprietor. Penalties for intentional copying include fines and a prison sentence of up to ten years.

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