4.2. The ‘Formalities check’ and ‘Formal requirements’

Date Published

The formalities assessment includes comparing the application detail against the ‘Formalities check’ (see regs 4.04 (single design application) and 4.05 (multiple design application)) and the ‘Formal requirements’ (see s 39(2)(aa) and s 40(2)(ca), which are determined in an instrument made under s 149A). These requirements replaced Schedule 2 which was previously included in the Designs Regulations 2004 (Regulations).

The formal requirements in the instrument made under s 149A apply to design applications filed on or after 10 March 2022.

The formal requirements in Schedule 2 apply to design applications filed before 10 March 2022.

The ‘Formalities check'  

These checks include confirming that:

  • the design application is in the approved form 
  • the design application is in English. See reg 11.18 
  • the design application does not contain any scandalous 
  • matter, or matter that might be taken to be scandalous 
  • the design application identifies, for each design, the product or products (bearing the design) sufficiently to enable each product to be classified in accordance with the Locarno agreement 
  • if the design application is for an excluded design, the application includes the design number for the initial application that the excluded design is based off
  • if a specimen has been submitted as part of the application, it is mounted in a flat position on an A4 sheet, can be stored without damage and allows for copies to be made
  • at least one representation of the design has been supplied
  • the number of designs disclosed in the application is the number of designs identified by the applicant, as being separate designs disclosed in the application.

The ‘Formal requirements’ check

The formal requirements for a design application require:

  • full name of applicants and designers 
  • address for service
  • contact telephone number 
  • representations and an indication of the number of designs
  • where there is a convention claim for priority, the basic information that confirms the number, country and filing date of the basic application 
  • where an application is for a common design applied to more than one product, the application must include a clear indication of this, including a list of products. 


There are also some specific formal requirements for representations. These provide the representations:

  • must clearly show visual features and display the part of a design to which a statement of newness and distinctiveness refers (if applicable)
  • must include a view of the product showing the design fully assembled
  • must be without extraneous material that impacts clarity and casts doubt as to design being applied for
  • must be clearly drawn with well-defined lines where line drawings are included
  • should use one image format. If more than one image format is used, and it results is uncertainty about the design being applied for, representation(s) may need to be deleted on the basis that further designs may apply
  • must be clear, consistent and readily understandable
  • photographs must be clear, in focus and taken against a background that is neutral, plain and contrasting with the product
  • text included as part of a representation must be in English, legible and indelible. It also must be limited to only that which is necessary to understand a representation. SoND-like text must not be included as part of a representation.

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended

ACIP changes

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