Benefits of design registration
The appearance of a product is very important for the success of the product. It is not enough for a product to be technically advanced to succeed in the market, it must also look attractive. For this reason, efforts are made to design products and parts of products. As product design is an important competitive factor, as copying of successful products has also increased.
Design registration entitles the holder to prohibit others from commercially using designs that give a similar overall impression. Commercial use includes, for example, the manufacture, sale, import and export of a product.
What kind of designs can be protected by design registrations?
Design registrations protect the appearance of a product, that may consist of its outer lines, shapes, surface textures or materials. Aesthetics or artistic input is not relevant for obtaining design protection. Design registrations can be used to protect, for example, industrial or handcrafted products, product packaging, the appearance of patterns, surface structures or even graphic symbols. Design protection can also cover visual user interfaces of software. Design protection does not cover the technical innovations contained in a product. Patent or utility model protection may be available for such features.
Requirements for protection
Design protection requires that the design is new and has an individual character.
The novelty of a design means that a similar design, or product based on it, has not previously been made public. The earlier product or design must be identical or very similar to block novelty. A product or design is considered public if it has been published in an earlier design application, in course of business or in any other way. A significant exception to the novelty requirement is the grace period in the European Union, which allows a product to be published and used 12 months before the application date of the design application.
The individual character of the design is assessed by considering if the overall impression given by the design is different compared to designs that have been public before the application date of the later design application. In practice, the difference in the overall impression is dependent on the product category.
Registration authorities and registration procedure
A design is registered in the EU with an application to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). A design that applies only to Finland is registered in Finland with an application made to the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH).
EUIPO does not examine whether a design is new or has individual character and the design is registered if the formalities of the application have been fulfilled. Novelty and individual character will only be examined if someone files a cancellation application for an EU design registration on the grounds of lack of novelty and individuality. During the application process, the Finnish PRH also examines whether a design is new and possesses individual character.
The application process is fast, and the design is typically registered in the EU within one month. For cost reasons, almost all designs are registered in the EU, even though protection may be needed mainly in Finland.
We protect designs all around the world
Drafting and filing of the design application
Services after registration
Please note that the cost of a design registration depends on whether there are images or drawings of the design that can be used without amendments in the design application. The number of designs contained in the application also affects the price. The consultation related to protection and the measures required during the registration procedure are included in our package prices, except measures needed to overcome decisions on non-registrability due to formal or substantive reasons issued by the registration authorities.
Design example 1
For a Finnish tool manufacturer, we protected their new tool design in the European Union for 998 € (excluding VAT), including official application and advertising fees.
Design example 2
We protected four new designs in the European Union for a domestic sports equipment designer for a total price of 2,000 € (excluding VAT), including official application and advertising fees.