Design law2

A unique design succeeds – We protect your design!

Why design protection?

The success of a product is often linked to its unique design. It is important to think about protecting your design before introducing the design to the market. If you wait too long, design protection may no longer be available.

Protection period

The term of protection of a registered design at the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) is 25 years. Your design must be renewed every 5 years, which means you may renew it up to 4 times.

What is design protection?

A design protects the product’s look, its decorative aspect/element. A design can be two-dimensional (surfaces, lines, or patterns) or three-dimensional (shapes, such as those of a clock or a chair). Designs should not have an exclusively technical function such as patents.

Design infringement and developing a protection strategy

When registering your design, you must be aware of existing third-party designs to avoid infringing them. Designs of third parties can limit the scope of protection of your design. We are here to develop with you a protection strategy that suits your needs.

Design application and illustrations of the design

The illustrations of your design play a crucial role when filing your design application before the Office. They determine the scope of protection of your design; in other words, to what extent you can prevent or go against third parties’ imitations. Once your design has been filed, it cannot be changed. Prior to filing your application, the scope of protection of your design must be clearly defined including the number of illustrations that you would like to submit. We are here to help you to file your deign application.

We offer you full service for the registration of your design including administering the payment of the fees, meeting the required deadlines, and communicating with the DPMA and the EUIPO. We are specialized in design law and are here for you in all related matters.

Design registration

Once your design has been registered, you have an exclusive right, which you can sell or license out. A design can be registered at the DPMA, or the EUIPO for a period of maximum 25 years.

International protection of designs

Are you interested in protecting your design outside Germany in the near future? There are several options such as filing for a national design, or an EU design as already discussed – or filing in a number of countries by registering your design at WIPO. We are happy to discuss this further with you.

OUR SERVICES

  • Individual advice on your design strategy
  • Checking the registrability of your design
  • Discussing possible illustrations of your application
  • Preparing and filing your design application
  • Managing your design portfolio
  • Renewing your design und monitoring deadlines

FAQs

A design is a creation of a product, which can be two-dimensional (surfaces, lines, or patterns) or three-dimensional (shapes, such as those of a clock or chair). It represents the “decorative aspect” of a product. A design should not have an exclusively technical function such as patents.

Products with an appealing design can contribute to the consumer’s decision to purchase the product. Once your design has been publicly introduced to the market, third parties may imitate it. Protecting your design is the solution. If your design has been imitated, you can act against it, for example, by requesting the cancellation of a design at the respective office or filing a lawsuit for infringement of your design.

The cost of filing a design application consists mainly of the official fees and the attorney’s fees. The amount of the costs depends mostly on the country in which you apply for the design registration and the number of designs.

The illustrations of your design in your application determine its scope of protection. This means that everything you can see on the illustration is protected. This makes the illustrations so important; they must include everything that should be protected.

External appearances that have a technical function only are excluded from design protection. The design cannot be contrary to public order or morality (including protection of coats of arms).

When filing a design application, the design must be classified as a good/product under the Locarno classification system. This is to define that the design will be used for this type of good/product. This classification is mainly used to search for registered designs in the respective class. The term “Locarno classes” dates back to 1968 where a conference held in Locarno adopted the Locarno Agreement that established the international classification system for designs. There are 32 Locarno classes (e.g., class 6 for furniture) and 241 subclasses (e.g., 6-01 for seating).

If you decide to protect several designs, you have the option to file multiple applications. All designs must belong to the same Locarno class (including subclass). This is more cost-effective than filing several individual applications.

The term of protection of a registered design at the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) is 25 years. Your design must be renewed every 5 years, which means you may renew it up to 4 times.

The design should be protected in all countries where you have a business or planning to open one. Design protection is territorial i.e., it only extends to the country where your design is registered.

If you have a registered German design, you can only take action against infringements of your design in Germany. If, for example, a French company copies your design in Germany, you can take action against it in Germany. However, if this company also uses your design in France, you can hardly do anything. In this case, you may consider registering your design in France or at the EUIPO.

You can protect a design in almost every country of the world. There are several options: a national application in the respective country, an EU Design covering all EU countries or an international design registration (the Hague System), in which you can bundle all countries relevant to you in one design application. This application will need to be filed at WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office).

The Hague System at WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office) allows for filing a design application in a number of countries (i.e. those that are members of the Hague System; currently 79 members/93 countries). You would need to designate the countries you are seeking protection in and file the application at WIPO. WIPO will examine certain formalities of the application for all designated countries and then send it over to the local IP offices for them to undertake the substantial examination.

We are specialized in IP rights and are happy to advise you on all your questions regarding designs.

Karin Simon
Lawyer
Certified IP Lawyer

Susanne Graeser
Lawyer
Certified IP Lawyer

Uhlandstr. 2
80336 Munich
Germany

Phone +49 89 90 42 27 51-0
Fax +49 89 90 42 27 51-9

Karin Simon
Rechtsanwältin

Fachanwältin für
gewerblichen Rechtsschutz

Susanne Graeser
Rechtsanwältin

Fachanwältin für
gewerblichen Rechtsschutz

Uhlandstr. 2
D-80336 München

Tel. +49 89 90 42 27 51-0
Fax +49 89 90 42 27 51-9