Benefits of Design Protection

How to protect your unique design?
The process of registering a design takes a few months and costs just a manageable amount for the most important industrial countries. In contrast to patent applications, patent offices do not check whether the design filed for application is actually new. This is only verified in case of a legal dispute. Therefore, a registered design is what is referred to as an unexamined intellectual property right. The representation of a design determines the subject matter and scope of protection. A stylish car may receive the same design protection as a new production facility. The only requirement for a design to have individual character is a new overall style and impression, meaning that technical parameters do not suffice, as would be the case for the basic form of a socket.

Registered design
A registered design is an industrial property right protecting the outward appearance of a commercial product (contours, colors, shape). The subject matter of protection is limited to the features visible in the representation; that means only those items are protected that can be clearly seen in the design representation. Its scope does not include the idea, invention, production process or similar behind the product. A registered design grants a monopoly right to the shape and color of your product—ranging from a motorcycle to a nutcracker—for a limited period of time. A registered design protects the two-dimensional or three-dimensional appearance of the whole or a part of a product. Therefore, the design of a flat surface—for example, a textile or wallpaper—or the appearance of a three-dimensional object is protected by such a registered design. This scope of protection includes the lines, contours, colors, shape, surface structure and the texture of the product.

Utility Models for Immediate Protection

Today, there is hardly a successful product that is not copied. For there are many around who would like to benefit from the success of a product or design. This trademark and design protection is of vital importance. Aside from patents and design protection, however, utility models are another protection alternative. Patent offices do not examine whether a utility model meets the requirements of novelty and achievement either. Therefore, the registration period is much shorter. Whereas it takes at least two years to obtain a patent, a utility model can be registered within about two months of the application being filed. Difference to patents In comparison to patents, the utility model features a shorter term of protection, lower costs, and does not entail any commercial/tax benefits.

Booming Trademarks – Booming Product Piracy as Well

The figures show that there are more trademark applications than for patents, designs and utility models. While in 2014, 65,958 patents and 70,678 trademarks were filed in Germany alone, there were also 14,748 utility model and 59,423 design applications. The field of trademark protection is becoming increasingly important in particular and yet also increasingly difficult. Nevertheless, many businesses and retailers still underestimate the risk of product piracy. The British magazine Marketing Week estimates the damage to renowned brand manufacturers, such as Ray-Ban, Louis Vuitton or Mulberry, caused by product piracy to be 12 billion euros a year.