Food manufacturers are registering new designs for products and merchandise in droves following changes in design registration law, according to the Patent Office.
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.

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