Registered and non-registered designs

Registered designs and non-registered EU designs – the latter being acquired by being solely disclosed to the public – serve to protect aesthetic creations. This includes the two-dimensional or three-dimensional appearance of a product (or a part thereof) resulting from the characteristic appearance of the product, such as lines, contours, colors, shape, surface texture or materials of the product itself or its ornamentation. Considerable cost savings can be achieved by combining a greater number of designs in one application.

The design applied for is registered without official examination in substantive respect (novelty and distinctive character). The protectability of a design is examined by a court only in case of infringement. In order to be able to take action against a third party based on a registered design, the design shall not have been disclosed to the public by the applicant earlier than 12 months before the filing date, so-called “grace period”, and identical creations may not already exist. The design must also have a distinctive character, which in case of dispute requires an exact examination of previous designs.

It is therefore advisable to apply for the registration of a design, if possible before marketing measures are taken. The maximum term of a design is 25 years, for unregistered EU designs only 3 years.

We can offer you comprehensive services in the field of design law, in particular:

  • design and figurative trademark searches
  • Design applications via various protection systems worldwide (EU designs, Hague Convention, national designs)
  • Cooperation with foreign colleagues worldwide
  • License and design contracts
  • Issuance of warning letters because of design infringements and defense against such warning letters
  • Representation in infringement proceedings before civil courts, including the deposit of protective letters in the event of impending preliminary injunctions
  • Examination of possible rights claims arising from a non-registered EU design against imitations of the design
  • Examination of possible design conflicts also under copyright and competition law aspects.