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Sunday, 2 July 2006


The Patent Office has published details of a probable forthcoming shake-up of the design system. They come with a caveat though:

It is proposed that the Regulatory Reform (Registered Designs) Order 2006, the Registered Designs Rules 2006 and the Registered Designs (Fees) Rules 2006 will all come into force on 1 October 2006. The Regulatory Reform Order has begun the Parliamentary process, but it is not yet complete at the time of the publication of this guidance. Accordingly, this guidance is issued subject to the proposed legal changes receiving the necessary final approval of Parliament, which is expected very shortly.

The major changes are:

*An end to novelty and individual character exams for new design applications;
*Applications to register multiple designs will be allowed;
*The practice of allowing some designs to be withheld from public inspection will be reduced to 12 months;
*Steps to make it easier to restore designs which have lapsed due to non-payment of fees;
*Administrative changes through changes to the design rules;
*A new fee structure for multiple applications and withholding publication;

The IPKat welcomes any steps which make it easier for applicants to register [valid] intellectual property rights.

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