Our solutions /  Applying for and registering protection

Designs

Do your competitors imitate the appearance of your products? Design registrations give you exclusive rights to your designs.

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
In addition to the PRH and EUIPO, we act as our clients’ representative in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and internationally through Hague system at WIPO. In other countries, we protect our customers' designs through our associate firms.
Initial preparations
Before preparing and applying for protection, we review the objectives of protection, in which countries the design protection will be sought, if one or more designs are used to protect the features of the product, if parts of the products should be protected separately, and what images or drawings of the design are available. If images or drawings are available that can be used, we will proceed directly by preparing the application. If the images or drawings require amendments, the work is typically done by the client, but we have external service providers who can make the required amendments.
Drafting and filing of the design application
When the pictures or drawings of the design are ready, we will prepare and submit the application to the registration authority. If the application concerns Finland, the EU, Sweden, the United Kingdom or is a so-called international application under the Hague Agreement, then we will handle the submitting and further processing of the application ourselves. If the application concerns other countries, we will use our partner office in the relevant country to draft and submit the application. We report and invoice only after the application has been submitted. As the application procedure progresses, we will report notifications and decisions issued by the registration authority. In the EU, a design application is typically accepted by the registration authority without further action. At the end of the application process, the registration authority will provide a registration certificate, which we will forward to the client.
Services after registration
In most parts of the world, design registrations must be renewed every five years for the protection to remain in force. We will monitor renewal dates and remind our clients of the need to renew their design registrations.

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.

998 €
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.

2000 €

Would you like to get a preliminary price estimate for a service that best meets your needs?

Please do not wait with your questions too long. Ask us for advice.

If you are concerned about anything, we are here for you. Pressing the button below you can see all our experts.
Jonna Sahlin profiilikuva
Jonna Sahlin
European Patent Attorney, Chairman of the board, Partner
Show profile
Boco IP - Marja-Liisa Autti profiilikuva
Marja Liisa Autti
European Patent Attorney, Partner
Show profile
Boco IP - Nina Virolaisen profiilikuva
Nina Virolainen
European Patent Attorney
Show profile
Peter Åkerlund
IP Lawyer, Partner
Show profile
Sini-Maaria Mikkilä profiilikuva
Sini-Maaria Mikkilä
European Patent Attorney
Show profile
Boco IP - Elina Heikkilä profiilikuva
Elina Heikkilä
IP-Lawyer, Member of the Board, Partner
Show profile
Jaana Hämäläinen profiilikuva
Jaana Hämäläinen
European Patent Attorney, Partner
Show profile
Boco IP Jenni Aho profiilikuva
Jenni Aho
IP Specialist, administration and formalities
Show profile
Jonna Sahlin profiilikuva

Jonna Sahlin

European Patent Attorney, Chairman of the board, Partner

I am happy to advise and assist in various matters related to intellectual property rights and strategy, especially in the fields of chemistry, process technology, medicine, and diagnostics. I like problem solving and interaction with customers and colleagues, and I think the best results are usually achieved when the cooperation works smoothly. I handle patenting of inventions both in Finland and internationally, and in addition to prosecution of applications, I, among other things, also draft oppositions, freedom-to-operate analyses, and statements on the interpretation of patents.

I have been employed by Boco IP since 1998 and, after various tasks over the years,  I nowadays mostly work with patent matters. Since 2017, I have represented Finland as a council member of the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office (epi) and as a Finnish member of the epi's Professional Conduct Committee (PCC).

Education
M.Sc. (chemistry, food technology, polymer technology)
Languages
Swedish, Finnish, English, German
Activities
Expert member of the Market Court Expert member, European Patent Institute (board member 2017-2023), Finnish Patent Attorneys Association (SPAY, chairman 2010-2013), active in co-operation with Nordic patent attorneys in the field of chemistry, AIPPI, FICPI, UNION, Finnish Association of Industrial Law (STY) and Finnish Chemists Society (SKS), swimming, running, downhill skiing, gardening
x
Boco IP - Marja-Liisa Autti profiilikuva

Marja Liisa Autti

European Patent Attorney, Partner

I mainly deal with patenting in the fields of information technology, electronics and radio technology. The invention of many of the patent applications I have handled has been implemented as a computer program or software, but I am also no stranger to mechanical devices. In many cases, the inventions are combinations of devices and their control or processing of signals obtained therefrom. My job includes drafting patent applications, preparing office action reports and office action responses, handling opposition matters as well as performing novelty searches and technology mappings. I work as an authorized patent attorney, authorized by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office PRH. Prior to my career as a patent attorney, I gained 15 years of experience in patenting, IPR strategy and patent portfolio management in telecommunications field, as well as previous experience in research and development in the telecommunications and electronics industry. I have been employed by Boco IP since 2014.

Education
M.Sc. (electrical engineering: applied electronics, metrology, bioelectronics)
Languages
Finnish, English, Swedish
Activities
Orienteering, trail running, swimrun, geocaching, piano, gardening, genealogy
x
Boco IP - Nina Virolaisen profiilikuva

Nina Virolainen

European Patent Attorney

I assist and advise our clients in protection of inventions in the fields of chemistry and biochemistry including diagnostics, molecular biology, microbiology, immunochemistry and process chemistry. My area of expertise is also the protection of biotechnology, bioenergy and cleantech processes and solutions. In addition, I assist our clients with employee’s inventions, competitor tracking, freedom to operate assessments and novelty searches.

I have worked in the patent industry since 2017. Before that, I have several years of R&D experience in developing and implementing innovative biotechnology and environmental technology solutions, both as a university researcher and at a startup company. I got interested in the IPR industry after being an inventor in patent applications myself, so I have multifaceted experience in turning research into protected inventions that add value to their owner. The best part of my job is getting a glimpse into pioneering research in many different fields!

Education
PhD (Environmental Biotechnology), M.Sc.
Languages
Finnish, English, Swedish, German
x

Peter Åkerlund

IP Lawyer, Partner

I have a legal background and authorized to represent clients at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Finnish Patent Office, and at Finnish courts. I help clients to create strategies for the protection of brands, designs and other intangible assets. I conduct risk analysis' related to the use and registration of trademarks, and handle trademark registration and design protection worldwide. I also advise on contractual matters related to Intellectual Property and act as clients' representative in negotiations, and deal with trademark and design infringements, prosecute trademark oppositions and trademark and design cancellation procedures, and handle disputes related to domains. I have worked at Boco IP since 1999.

Education
LL.M., Master of Laws trained on the bench
Languages
Swedish, Finnish, English
Activities
The Association of Finnish Patent Attorneys, the Finnish Anti-Counterfeiting Group, IPR University Center Association, the Finnish Marketing Association MARK (several confidential posts in the above-mentioned organizations over the years), INTA, the Finnish Association for Industrial Property Rights, Juridiska Föreningen i Finland, literature, art, economy
x
Sini-Maaria Mikkilä profiilikuva

Sini-Maaria Mikkilä

European Patent Attorney

I am happy to help with all kinds of IP matters, and especially with technical inventions, their protection by patents and utility models in Europe and internationally, and with matters related to defending IP rights, such as oppositions, appeals and infringement matters. I have worked as a patent attorney since 2008 and during the time I have helped to protect and defend a wide variety of inventions, but I am most experienced in protecting inventions related to machines and equipment and hydraulic, electrical and software control of thereof, as well as components and geometries. I am also interested in hydraulics, measurements, automatic detection, and different types of sensor applications as well as user interfaces and energy technology applications.

I really like the versatility of patent attorney's work. In addition to patent prosecution, I am happy to advise clients on IP issues, such as planning IP and protection strategies, and employment invention matters. I find it interesting to analyse similarities and differences between solutions, and I like preparing expert opinions related to scope of protection and suspected patent infringement cases, for example. I also conduct novelty and technology searches. It is also important for me to increase IP awareness and, therefore, I also like to organize IP trainings and IP workshops.

I would like to encourage you to contact me especially if you work within an industry like industrial machinery or equipment, mobile machinery, automotive industry, mining, consumer products, paper and forestry, public services, freight and logistics, health technology, measuring equipment and technology, renewable energy, or telecommunications. However, please feel free to contact me in any other IP matters, as I am always happy to help you to find the best expert on any matter, whether it is me or someone else.

I started at Boco IP in 2021 opening our Tampere office, but I help clients all over Finland and abroad, in Finnish, English and Swedish. Besides IPR matters, I also have an extensive experience in developing and deploying processes and information system tools.

Education
M.Sc. (Automation Technology)
Languages
Finnish, English, Swedish, German, Russian
Activities
European Patent Institute (member), Finnish Patent Attorneys Association (member), FICPI ​​(member) Crafts and creative writing
x
Boco IP - Elina Heikkilä profiilikuva

Elina Heikkilä

IP-Lawyer, Member of the Board, Partner

I work primarily with trademarks and designs. I have years of global experience in IP protection proceedings, opposition, infringement and cancellation proceedings. I conduct availability and risk analyses, contractual matters, and IP strategy planning. Every IP-workday is fascinating! My previous work experience is from the Supreme Administrative Court, the Finnish Patent Office, and from a patent agency. I am authorized to represent clients at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) and Finnish courts. I have worked at Boco since 2011.

Education
LL.M.
Languages
Finnish, English, Swedish, French
Activities
The Association of Finnish Patent Attorneys, The Finnish Association for Industrial Property Rights, International Trademark Association, The Finnish Anti-Counterfeiting Group, exercise, sailing, reading, antique, design
x
Jaana Hämäläinen profiilikuva

Jaana Hämäläinen

European Patent Attorney, Partner

I handle the patenting of inventions related to biotechnology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and chemistry nationally and internationally. My technology expertise includes e.g. therapeutic and diagnostic methods, drugs and food. I also manage the protection of plant-related inventions and the application for plant variety rights. I am a European Patent Attorney and a Registered Patent Attorney in Finland. In addition to the prosecution of patent applications I conduct freedom-to-operate analyses, novelty searches, provide statements, and, if necessary, act as a technical expert in patent litigations and act as a lecturer.

My clients include start-ups, research institutes, small and medium-sized enterprises and large companies.

After my master’s degree in biotechnology, I completed my PhD at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. I also did postgraduate studies at Cornell University in the USA and the University of Helsinki. My background in working as a researcher in different universities and research environments has helped me understand the different stages of research and development.

I have enjoyed being at Boco IP since 2000.

Education
Ph.D. (plant pathology), M.Sc. (biotechnology, chemistry)
Languages
Finnish, Swedish, English, German
Activities
Expert member of the Market Court. Professional memberships: Finnish Patent Attorneys Association, AIPPI, European Patent Institute, Finnish Industrial Property Association, Finnish Chemists' Association. Jogging, Skiing, Reading, History and Genealogy.
x
Boco IP Jenni Aho profiilikuva

Jenni Aho

IP Specialist, administration and formalities

I work in the IT, mechanics and electrical group. I assist patent attorneys in all matters related to patent processing and handle external communications with clients and authorities. I previously worked in the patent field in 2002–2008. I have been by Boco IP since 2013.

Education
BBA
Languages
Finnish, English, Swedish
Activities
Outdoor activities in the wild
x
Show specialists.
Hide specialists.
Boco IP - Elina Heikkilä profiilikuva
Elina Heikkilä
IP-Lawyer, Member of the Board, Partner
+358 9 6866 8415
elina.heikkila@bocoip.com
Boco IP - Jerry Härkönen profiilikuva
Jerry Härkönen
IP Advisor
+358 40 538 7223
jerry.harkonen@bocoip.com
Laura Roselus profiilikuva Boco IP
Laura Roselius
IP Lawyer, Partner
+358 40 738 4475
laura.roselius@bocoip.com
Peter Åkerlund
IP Lawyer, Partner
+358 9 6866 8413
peter.akerlund@bocoip.com