cfi-The Look and The Law Aug 09:The Look, The Law & The Knowledge 2009 07/09/2009 13:55 Pag
Community Registered Design – this is known as the “grace period” and means
that the design can be exhibited at design fairs and “tested” before fees are spent
on registering those designs which are key and successful. It also applies across
the entire European Community – for free!
As with all unregistered rights, it is important to keep a record of how the design
was created (i.e. with signed and dated design documents) and, particularly given
the limited lifespan of UCDR, when the design was first disclosed. If the design was
commissioned, then an assignment (getting the rights moved from the
commissioned party to you) should be taken so that the design legally belongs to
What legal power does it give you? The right to prevent others from reproducing
the design. If someone has infringed you, you can also seek legal remedies such
as damages (compensation), an account of profits, destruction of the offending
articles, and injunctions to prevent repeat of the offending behaviour.
A similar right exists in the UK – Unregistered Design Right – covering the UK only.
It is best to think of copyright as a right in 2D “works” only, rather than 3D “objects”.
The protection afforded by copyright resides in 2D drawings, design documents
and the like – to which the 3D object is made up or corresponds.
What can be covered by copyright protection? Any original artistic, literary,
dramatic or musical works plus sound recordings and films. The threshold for
protection is low – the “work” generally needs only be original and can be as simple
as, for example, surface decoration patterns on a dress.
Copyright protection generally lasts for the life of the author or creator plus 70
years. For design duos in partnership, the rights lasts from the death of the
second/remaining partner. As with all unregistered rights however, it must be
documented with signed and dated material. Ensure that assignment of copyright
is taken if the work has been commissioned!
Each country has its own system of copyright (or similar) protection and here we’ll
just outline the basics of the UK position. It is, however, worth being aware that
rules on copyright (including rules on who owns it, how it can be dealt with and how
long it lasts) vary from country to country. So you shouldn’t assume that the person
who owns copyright in the UK will necessarily own the copyright in all other
territories or that the term of copyright will be the same throughout the world.
What rights does copyright give you? The exclusive right to prevent others from
copying the whole or a substantial part of the work. Also, related rights to prevent
distribution of copies (either manually or through the internet).
What is substantial copying? Legally, it is a pretty grey area - and is all about context.
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