Designs 2017: A Global Guide

A simple, easy-to-use digest of some of the main issues involved in the protection, enforcement and exploitation of designs.

Regional focus

European Union

BEST Rechtsanwälte PartmbB

During the past year, a number of cases involving designs were decided at European level, by both the courts and the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO; formerly the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market). Not all of the decisions concern substantive or procedural matters of law directly relating to design matters; however, many are highly relevant to everyday practice and decision making in the field.
Udo Pfleghar

Country chapters

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Benelux


Benelux design law is governed by the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property, the current version of which entered into force on October 1 2013. The convention replaced the Benelux Design Law 1975, which was the first law providing uniform design protection in multiple EU member states and was heralded as such in the preamble of the EU Community Design Regulation.
Peter van der Wees

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Brazil

DANIEL Advogados

In Brazil, the legal provisions for industrial designs are included in the Industrial Property Law (9,279/96). This law is supplemented by normative acts which regulate the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI). The most recent of these are Normative Acts 44/2015 and 45/2015.
Rana Gosain, Diogo dos Santos Netto and André Bastos Venturini

Protecting and enforcing design rights: China

Peksung Intellectual Property Ltd

Article 2(4) of the Patent Law defines a ‘design’ as the shape or pattern or a combination thereof, or a combination of colour with a shape or pattern, of a product which has aesthetic appeal and is fit for industrial application.
Jianhui Zheng

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Denmark

Awapatent A/S

As Denmark is an EU member state, the laws governing design protection in Denmark have largely been harmonised with and are similar to those in the rest of the European Union. Both the Design Act and the EU Community Designs Regulation (6/2002) apply to design rights in Denmark.
Henriette V Rasch

Protecting and enforcing design rights: France

Laurent & Charras

Design protection in France may be claimed through a French design application, an international application designating France or the European Union or a direct Community design application filed with the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
Julien Scicluna

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Germany

Krieger Mes & Graf v der Groeben

German registered designs are governed by the Design Act, which was recently renamed to reflect the fact that German registered designs are now officially called ‘designs’, rather than the previously used ‘aesthetical models’.
Jens Künzel

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Greece

Dr Helen G Papaconstantinou and Partners, Law Firm

Industrial designs in Greece may be protected at the international, EU and national levels. Registered international designs with Greece as a designated state have the same effect as a valid national registration. Registered Community designs are automatically valid in Greece. Unregistered designs are also protected in Greece under EU law.
Maria Athanassiadou

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Malaysia

Henry Goh & Co Sdn Bhd

The protection of industrial designs in Malaysia is governed by the Industrial Designs Act 1996 and the Industrial Designs Regulations 1999, which came into force on September 1 1999.
Dave A Wyatt

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Mexico

Uhthoff, Gomez-Vega & Uhthoff SC

In Mexico, the Industrial Property Law provides for the protection of industrial designs and grants the owner of a registered design the exclusive right to use or exploit the design. In this sense, additional protection can be provided by the Federal Copyright Law.
Manuel Lopez Robles

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Norway

Bryn Aarflot AS

Community designs offer no protection in the Norwegian territory since Norway is not part of the European Union. Hence, in order to obtain a design registration, a design owner must file a national registration with the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO) or an international design registration designating Norway via the Hague System.
Celine Varmann Jørgensen

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Poland

IP & Law - Kancelaria Rzeczników Patentowych J Markieta, M Zielińska-Łazarowicz Sp p

The Polish design regime is largely based on registration. The crucial requirements for a design (referred to as an ‘industrial design’ under Polish IP law) to enjoy protection are novelty and individual character. However, design applications are examined for compliance with formal requirements only.
Małgorzata Zielińska-Łazarowicz

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Portugal

Raul César Ferreira (Herd), SA

A Portuguese design or model application is examined for formal requirements only. If no irregularities exist or if these are subsequently corrected, the application is published in the Industrial Property Bulletin for the purpose of opposition by third parties which consider themselves prejudiced by grant of the registration.
Jorge Faustino

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Russia

Gorodissky & Partners (Moscow)

Russian design law is incorporated into Part IV of the Civil Code. Additional provisions regarding application proceedings are set out in the Rules on Design Patent Application Proceedings and the Instructions for Design Patent Application Documents.
Alexander Vasilets and Nikolay Bogdanov

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Sweden

Awapatent AB

The Design Act was amended in 2002 to reflect changes at EU level to harmonise IP laws within the European Union. As a result, Swedish design law is largely consistent with the rules that apply in other EU member states. Cases handed down by the EU courts and legal literature regarding the EU design system are, in many cases, also relevant for the interpretation of the Design Act.
Anita Gillior and Emelie Fyhrqvist

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Switzerland

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal

Switzerland provides protection for designs of products (or parts of products) as characterised by the arrangement of lines, surfaces, contours, colours and materials used. Design protection requires registration, which can be obtained by applying for either a national design before the IPI or an international design under the Hague System (designating Switzerland).
Michael Ritscher, Guillaume Fournier and Peter Schramm

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Turkey

Ankara Patent Bureau Limited

Industrial designs are protected by Decree-Law 554, which has been in force since 1995. According to this law, registered design protection is available only for new and distinctive designs.
Ekin Karakuş Öcal

Protecting and enforcing design rights: United Kingdom

Hiddleston Trade Marks

While the United Kingdom remains in the European Union, owners can still obtain design registration as either a UK registered design or a registered Community design. Unregistered design protection is also available as an unregistered Community design right or a UK design right.
Mark Hiddleston

Protecting and enforcing design rights: United States

McAndrews Held & Malloy, Ltd

The appearance of an object or article of manufacture may be protected in the United States under three separate, but sometimes overlapping, IP regimes: design patents; trade dress; and copyright.
Christopher V Carani and Dunstan H Barnes


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Issue 74