Design protection makes it possible to protect the individual appearance and character of a new product. It can be used as a complementary protection for patented products – and as a key instrument in your branding strategy.
Novel and individual
Designs can be protected regardless of whether the underlying product is functional or mainly ornamental. To qualify for protection, the design must be novel and have individual character. There are exceptions to the novelty requirement since many countries – for example all EU member states – allow a certain grace period.
National, EU or international protection?
The application for registration can be either a national application, an application for a EU Design or an international application designating the countries who are parties to the Haag System. Design Law in the European Union is harmonized to a great extent.
The case for registered protection
Within the EU all designs that meet the requirements for protection are automatically protected as unregistered EU designs against slavish copying from the day they are first made publicly available. The protection lasts for three years. Unregistered design protection can be combined with registered protection if the application is made within the first year of disclosure. Registered protection has a longer term and gives the holder a broader protection.
Period of protection
Within the EU, a registered design may be protected for a maximum of 25 years, provided that the registration is renewed every five years.
Full design protection service
Through our global network we can help you obtain design protection in almost any country in the world. We can help you every step along the way to making your design a commercial success, from pre-filing research, to documentation and licensing, to the best mode of action if infringement should occur.