A product that can be sold on the market with economic success is highly at risk to be imitated by product pirates. The economic success of many products is based on their particular design, may have a strong influence on the customer's decision to buy this product. In these esthetic designs it may be a matter of special shape, color, color combinations etc.

Therefore, it is in the interest of every company to protect products with a special shape, i.e. the two- or three-dimensional appearance, by means of a design registration so that imitation can be prevented. Besides national design applications filed befor the German Patent- and Trademark Office, it is also possible to apply for Community design models that are effective in the states of the European Community. There is also the possibility of obtaining international protection in those states that have joined the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs.

If the product developed by you has a two- or three-dimensional appearance which, in your opinion, may be protectable, please turn to us. In this case, a designs search should first be carried out in order to verify, on the one hand to infringement of already existing designs. Thereafter, we can represent you in the application and registering proceedings. In addition, we can advise and represent you in design litigations.

Further information

Important prerequisites for obtaining a design registration are novelty and the individual character of the model. Novelty means that no identical or only insubstantially differing model is known at the time of application. However, in this context a so-called novelty grace period applies which is granted to the creator of the product design. When he publishes the model, the publication of a corresponding application cannot be cited as prejudical to novelty if he files the application before expiration of 12 months from the point of time of publication. Individual character means that the overall impression of the filed model must differ from that of any other model. Decisive is the overall impression that is created in the informed user. The life term of a registered German Design or a Community design model is 25 years from the date of application.

Furthermore, there are criteria for exclusion from designs protection:

  • The design of the product for which protection is claimed must be contingent exclusively upon its technical function.
  • The design of the product is inevitably predetermined by the interaction of the product with a further product.

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