Companies can now register patterns and designs without specifying where they might appear, said marketing executive Jeremy Philpott.
"Previously, you had to register a design in relation to product on which it appeared.
"Many products are not distinguishable in functional terms any more, so you can't get a patent for some kind of exclusive technical device, and trademarks only protect brand names. What often distinguishes a product from a competitor's is what it looks like, and that's where design registration comes in."
From April 2003, applicants have been able to register designs on a European wide basis at a design registry in Alicante, Spain.
Britvic has registered several new designs, including a small green character, a B-Stars logo and several new bottle designs. Schweppes has registered a pink fish logo and new pack designs.