Virtual design marking “propels intellectual property into the digital age”

Government is looking to introduce a scheme that would allow designers to “virtually mark” their creations to legally protect them.


New proposals which allow designers to virtually mark their creations will “propel intellectual property into the digital age”, it has been claimed.

The Government is introducing proposals that mean designers will no longer have to include a design number of products to show that a design is registered.

Instead, they will be able to register their designs with a web link, instead of having to stamp their products or attach a label.

“A simpler way” for designers to protect their rights

Currently, designers who register their designs to protect aspects such as the appearance, physical shape or configuration are able to display their registration number on their design to be sure of protection.

The new “virtual marking” system is being hailed by Government as “a simpler way” for designers to protect their designs.

It would allow for registrations to be updated online cheaper and more easily than the current system, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

“Firmly respecting the ideas of others”

The new proposals are being announced by Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe at the Dyson headquarters.

Speaking a the launch of the proposals, Sir James Dyson says: “Virtual marking will propel intellectual property into the digital age. Next, we need to uphold a culture where inventors resolutely protect their ideas and where the ideas of others are firmly respected.”

Baroness Neville-Rolfe says: “Strong IP systems allow innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship to thrive. We are confident that virtual marking for registered designs will be very warmly welcomed by UK companies for whom design is key to their success.”

Intentional design copying now a criminal act

The proposals are part of last year’s Intellectual Property Act, which also introduced measures such as making intentional copying of registered designs a criminal offence and bringing in a new design opinions service.

Government is currently seeking views on proposals to help designers enforce these rights, with a call for evidence open at

Discover more:

• The Intellectual Property Act – what does it mean for designers?

• Government creates “IP Finance Toolkit”

• Government improves protection against “groundless” IP threats

• Copyright law changes could bring “significant” benefits for designers

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