If you are launching a new product there is a risk that it will infringe third party design rights. You can reduce the likelihood of costly conflict down the line, or at least be better informed of potential risk, by conducting a design search and clearance assessment before product launch. To do this, we search for relevant earlier rights - both registered and unregistered designs - help you assess the risk these pose to you, and guide you in any action that you might take to reduce and mitigate risk.
Design registrations have become more popular and more accessible over recent years. This is partly because the financial and time-based barriers to entry are much lower compared to those of patents, and partly because aesthetic has become such a dominant factor in almost every market. The rise in design registration has been accompanied by a rise in design litigation, and design infringement has become a greater risk for companies, particularly those led by aesthetics.
Many companies will be aware of a need to run patent or trade mark searches before a product is launched, but might overlook the risks relating to third party design rights.
Design searching can be difficult - even for many professionals. Due to the fact that they are reasonably simple to obtain, there are many registered designs in any given territory. To add to the complexity, designs cannot be searched effectively using keywords, and easily accessible image matching software is not yet close to being effective in running comparison searches of 3D objects. It can be overwhelming to consider a search against these obstacles.
Our attorneys know how to make searching manageable and effective using sophisticated searching tools. We rely on commercial context from you, combined with tried and tested tactics to develop a cost-effective searching strategy. Our excellent processes and hugely skilled design search teams mean we can offer outstanding quality of service, and surprising speed, when it comes to design searching.
Once searches are complete we can assess the results to help you understand where the risks lie for your potential design. If risks are identified, we can work with you to assess their impact, and determine risk reduction strategies if necessary.
We pride ourselves on developing a dynamic strategy that navigates the difficulties of design searching to give you meaningful advice. We help you mitigate risk, while understanding that wherever aesthetic is important, it is also important to preserve design freedom, so that designers can create with minimal constraint. Our attorneys know how to help you walk the fine line between risk and freedom, carving out a path that works for your business.
Our search and clearance strategies aim to capture as many relevant rights as possible in a cost-effective way, but they also acknowledge that no design search can be 100% complete and comprehensive. At Keltie we work around that constraint. We look for information and context that can define a low-risk path without needing to find every design that exists. We build a bank of context and information that can mitigate risk from rights that couldn’t ever be found through searching.
It is this appreciation of commercial realities, together with an unparalleled ability to draw meaningful practical advice out of a dense and complex field of design rights, that sets us apart.