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Designs are becoming an increasingly popular way to stop infringers. However, while registered designs can be cheap and quick to acquire, the choices available and the protection they offer can be confusing.

Our design law experts help clients understand the differences between the various rights and the advantages and disadvantages of each. We work with our clients to secure the best portfolio for their needs and ensure that it is exploited effectively.

If clients then experience infringement of their rights, our team has significant experience of enforcing designs at every level, from informal resolution through correspondence to major litigation in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), the High Court or the Court of Appeal.

Our market-leading design law specialists have acted on some of the most significant cases in the area. The team does not consider it sufficient simply to know the law inside out; it also focuses on what is important for its clients to achieve their commercial objectives. Every client's needs are different, and so our advice is focused and relevant to meet those needs.

The team's experience has been enhanced by secondments with design-focused clients including Aston Martin, Dyson and Marks and Spencer. This insight allows our experts to provide the very best commercial advice with practical solutions.


Our expertise includes:

  • Experience of conducting and winning design right cases across the different courts, from lower value cases in the IPEC to the more substantial ones in the High Court, as well as significant experience of litigating designs in the Court of Appeal. For example:
    • The team led Dyson to a landmark victory at the Court of Appeal against spare parts manufacturer Qualtex in a groundbreaking judgment that is widely considered to be one of the major cases in design right law. The team also acted for Dyson against Vax in another leading Court of Appeal judgment.
    • In the High Court, the team has a number of successes to its name. These include John Coldham and Paul Inman's major unregistered design right victory for G-Star Raw, with an award of indemnity costs in G-Star's favour, and Kate Swaine's notable success in the Virgin v Premium (now Zodiac) case, which required an in-depth understanding and analysis of aircraft seat design and the regulatory constraints it operates within.
    • In the IPEC, the team won a design right case for longstanding client Kohler Mira against Bristan, concerning the design of electric showers. The case resulted in one of the highest ever damages awards in the court since it was reformed in 2010.
  • Advising on the exploitation of design rights through licensing and assignments, both in the UK and internationally
  • Advising on concept development, running training
  • How to avoid IP infringement, and covering in-house holiday leave. As well as providing clearance hotlines for clients which highlight potential risks, and ultimately reduce issues and expenses
  • Operating brand enforcement programmes that often avoid the need for legal proceedings altogether. Our team has a clear track record of achieving strong settlements between design right holders and infringers before any significant legal costs have been incurred
  • Providing regular updates and seminars to our client base on design law developments and case law; and
  • Hosting sell out events on design issues at the Victoria & Albert museum as part of the internationally renowned London Design Festival

International reach

Clients benefit from the team's international reach, providing advice on rights in the UK and at manufacturing bases across the globe.

With dedicated IP teams across several international offices including China, France, Germany and in the UK, as well as close ties with an established network of trusted firms in other jurisdictions, our team handles strategic and enforcement issues that span the globe.

An example of this international work includes high profile success in protecting Dyson's Air Multiplier™ fan design. A large number of cases have been fought and won in China, as well as in over 40 other jurisdictions around the world, all managed by a single team which has pursued over 1,000 infringers of the rights in the fan to date.

Clients range from the industrial to consumer products, clothing and fashion including Dyson, G-Star Raw, Hasbro, Aston Martin, Kohler Mira, Mothercare and the Early Learning Centre, Kingspan Group, Unilever and Freedrinks (the company behind ZEO).

Key Contacts

John Coldham
John Coldham

Kate Swaine
Kate Swaine

Meet our Designs professionals

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