In contrast to patents, which protect how products work, or trademarks, which protect the name of a product, a design registration helps protect the appearance of a product, such as its shape, colour, texture or pattern.
In our latest piece published by TCT Magazine, Susan Bradley discusses the benefits of design registration for protecting 3D printers in the UK and the EU, by reviewing a series of in-force design registrations at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO.)
All products eligible for UK and EU design registration protection can be classified into the “Locarno classification”. Under Locarno class 15 (“machines not elsewhere specified”), sub-class 09 (“machine tools, abrading and founding machinery”) we find the term “3D Printers”. According to UKIPO data, registered design applications under class 15 rose from 48 in 2007 to 882 in 2021; even allowing for the effects of Brexit, this is a substantial increase, demonstrating that manufacturers and designers additive manufacturing equipment are catching onto the benefits of registered design protection. Of course, this protection is not only available for 3D printers – the products made by additive manufacturing may also be eligible for a design registration.