3D image of Di to make legal history; Family bid to own her face.
Her family want to trademark the virtual reality model to stop Di's image being used on tacky and unauthorised goods.
The move would also prevent unscrupulous traders selling products and falsely claiming profits will go to Diana charities.
The Diana memorial fund recently lost a court battle to stop US firm Franklin Mint selling a Diana doll while claiming a link to the fund.
Now executors of the princess's will, including her mother and sister, hope to stop anyone in Britain using Diana's likeness unless they pay royalties.
But critics fear the move could set a precedent, which would let celebrities stop anyone using pictures of them.
A report in New Scientist said Diana's estate has filed 26 photographs of her.
When digitised and fed into a computer graphics system, the pictures can be used to create a virtual reality model.
Lawyers will have to convince the Trade Marks Registry a three-dimensional trademark can be created from two- dimensional photos.
The Diana Memorial Fund originally filed British trademark application 2149520 to secure rights to the image.
The fund transferred the application to the executors - Diana's mother Frances Shand Kydd, sister Sarah McCorquodale and Bishop of London Richard Chartres.
To qualify for registration a mark must be distinctive and distinguish the owner's goods and services from anther's.
No one has previously tried to claim protection on broad appearance.
A picture of racing driver Damon Hill's eyes staring through a visor has been successfully registered in Britain, but it does not cover other images of Hill.
The registry says it must apply the same legal tests to Diana's face as it would to any other application.
Assistant marketing director Geoff Sargant said: "You cannot register a trademark simply to stop others using it - you must intend to use it as a trademark.
"Decisions like this can take a long time. The average is 35 weeks.
"We received this application on October 29 1997 so it has already taken a long time. But the issue is a little more sensitive than usual.
"It has not been accepted and has not been refused. It is ongoing."
The Diana memorial fund is appealing after losing the case against Franklin Mint.
It's claimed the firm made more than pounds 20million selling Diana goods but gave only pounds 2million to charity.
The fund particularly wanted to outlaw Franklin Mint's Diana doll, complete with copy of the mine protection outfit she wore in Angola shortly before her death.
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Jan 14, 1999|
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