Design rights play an increasingly important role in intellectual property protection, particularly for clients in the retail, manufacturing and other design-based industries.

Our lawyers are recognised experts in designs. In addition to their daily practice, they teach and examine design and related copyright law in depth on the University of Oxford Post Graduate Diploma in IP Law and Practice and regularly speak and write on designs law.

Registered design law is harmonised at EU level but differences remain between the UK and the EU designs systems. Unregistered design law is complex and not harmonized. We are well-placed to advise on the best protection and enforcement strategies for your business.

Dispute Resolution

Wiggin’s dispute resolution practice has extensive experience of designs-related disputes, including advising on issues relating to:

  • registered design infringement and validity;
  • unregistered design subsistence and infringement and related copyright claims;
  • ownership and title;
  • contractual disputes;
  • licences of right
  • settlement and co-existence agreements

The team has significant experience of co-ordinating and managing cross-border disputes.


Wiggin’s commercial designs practice covers all aspects of securing and exploiting intellectual property rights. Designs are among the core rights that we deal with.

Creating, Buying and Selling Designs

Businesses must ensure they are entitled to use the designs that they need. We draft and negotiate agreements concerning the creation of intellectual property rights such as: consultancy and other commissioning arrangements; IP ownership clauses in employment contracts; research and development agreements and other partnering arrangements. We also advise on the sale and purchase of IP rights including undertaking due diligence on the rights being acquired.

Licensing, Distribution and Agency Agreements

We can assist in developing licensing strategies for clients’ designs, and will draft and negotiate licence agreements with both UK and international reach.

Design Strategy

Wiggin offers a full design management service. Whether you want to protect a new design or wish to review and streamline your existing design portfolio, our lawyers will provide you with bespoke, strategic advice and portfolio management services.

Our design management practice sits alongside our dispute resolution and commercial practices to ensure that we are there to help you develop and protect all aspects of your business.

IP Audits and Due Diligence

Is your house in order? Are you registering your key designs or reliant on unregistered rights? We assist businesses as they grow and change, recognising the importance of taking stock and considering whether your portfolio is structured appropriately and strikes the right balance between protection and cost-effectiveness.

Portfolio Management: from Strategy to Registration

We advise clients on registration procedures and assist in devising the right filing strategy for the needs of your designs and budget. We use a range of trusted advisers in other jurisdictions to assist us in co-ordinating and supervising the registration and management of our clients’ designs globally.

We work closely with our sister business INCOPRO, whose Talisman system provides a design monitoring and enforcement service. Together we provide clients with a unique, one-stop online brand protection and anti-counterfeiting service.