A registered design (formerly known as a design patent) is also an intellectual property right and allows protection of a certain (aesthetic) appearance and thus protection against imitators. If a product in a certain design (colour, shape, form, etc.) has been developed by someone, the exclusive right to use this design can be secured by registering it with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (as a national design), with the EUIPO (as a European design) and with WIPO (as an international design).
The prerequisite for this is that the design created is new, i.e., no identical design has been published before the registration date (taking into account the grace period of 12 months before registration). The design must also have an individual character, i.e., it must differ from other (older) designs in its overall impression.
If you are developing a new and, in the best sense of the word, "singular" design, we will be happy to assist you in
- conducting searches to find identical or similar designs (in cooperation with the patent law firm, Pohl & Partner)
- reviewing whether the design can be registered
- filing applications for registering the design and support throughout the process up to registration.
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office does not review the design regarding its novelty and individual character, which is initially taken for granted. Only the formal requirements are checked.
Protection and use
If you are now the owner of an older design and discover that an identical or at least similar design has been placed on the market, we will be happy to advise you on the possible courses of action up to and including filing an application for a declaration of invalidity with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.
Or if you are the applicant for a design and are in turn confronted with an application for invalidity after the design has been registered, we will also review the prospects of success in this case and represent you before the competent court in a counterclaim in infringement proceedings.
Once the design is registered, you have the exclusive right to use the registered design for at least five years. The five years protection period is extended by paying the maintenance fees every five years - but up to a maximum of 25 years.
When the design is registered you can use the design yourself or allow third parties to use your design under a licence agreement. We will also be happy to advise you regarding this!