In order to get legal protection, products featuring designs registered under the system brought in on 1 September 1842 had to display a diamond-shape mark incorporating various letters and numbers. These contain information, mostly in coded form, the most important part of which being the date that the design was registered.
Right - Typical mark of period 1842-1867; date translates as 19 August 1856
The Roman Numeral in the circle, top, indicates the class of material under which the design was registered
The number occupying the right corner of the diamond indicates the day of the month.
The letter occupying the left corner of the diamond indicates the month
The letter occupying the top of the diamond indicates the year
In the event of a query, the number occupying the bottom of the diamond would have been of help in finding out which of any given day’s registrations a mark belonged to. Each day in the Registration Department every design or group of designs submitted by an applicant was allocated a number in the order in which it was processed. This is known as the parcel number. It meant that where all other numbers and letters were the same, the proprietor of the design could be distinguished from others.
Right - Typical mark of the period 1868-1883; date translates as 25 September 1868.
After all the letters of the alphabet signifying years had been used up, the mark had to be altered slightly so as to avoid repeating marks allocated in the past. The Roman Numeral denoting the class remained unchanged, but the positions of the various other letters and numers were shifted round and a new table of year codes was applied.
The number occupying the top of the diamond now indicated the day of the month.
The letter occupying the bottom of the diamond now indicated the month. However, the months denoted by each letter were the same as during the period 1842-1867. 'The parcel number now occupied the left corner of the diamond.
The letter occupying the right corner of the diamond now indicated the year