Designs: A Global Guide 2018

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

Special focus

Effective use of Community design protection

GLP Intellectual Property Office
Design protection has taken on an increasingly important role in recent years, since appearance and exterior shape now play a fundamental role in the success of a product. Designs are now relevant to a wide range of products involving industry, fashion and crafts, and must be protected accordingly in order to guarantee the creator’s moral and financial benefits.

Graphical user interfaces

McAndrews Held & Malloy
A graphical user interface (GUI) allows users to interact with graphics appearing on electronic devices (eg, smartphones, tablets and netbooks). The interaction will typically involve pressing (with a finger or thumb) or clicking on (using a mouse or other input device) the graphics that appear on a display screen. In many situations, GUIs operate as virtual remote controls; rather than having physical buttons to press, a user manipulates virtual graphical buttons to achieve a desired result. GUIs tend to be more user-friendly than command-line interfaces, which require commands to be typed on a keyboard or other input device.

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.

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Brazil

DANIEL Legal & IP Strategy
The legal provisions for industrial designs are included in the Industrial Property Law. 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.

Protecting and enforcing design rights: China

Wanhuida Peksung
In China, exclusive rights to designs can be established by filing a design patent application under the Patent Law and its implementing regulations.

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. However, there are key differences.

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). 

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’. This is an interesting inconsistency in German law, as the official German name for registered Community designs is still ‘Community aesthetical model’, even in the Design Act itself.

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.

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.

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Norway

Bryn Aarflot AS
The following national legislation is relevant for design protection: the Designs Act 2003; the Designs Regulations 2003; the Marketing Control Act 2009; the Copyright Act 1961; the Trademark Act 2010; and the Patent Act 1967.

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.

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Sweden

Awapatent AB
In Sweden, exclusive rights to designs can be established by filing an application for: a Swedish national design registration; a registered Community design; or an international application to register a design through the Hague System, designating the European Community.

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Turkey

Ankara Patent Bureau Limited
Designs are protected by the new Industrial Property Law (6769), which entered into force on January 10 2017. However, the registration processes for national and international applications filed before the new law’s entry into force must be finalised within the scope of the previous Decree-Law 554. According to the new law, both registered and unregistered design protection is available for new and distinctive designs.

Protecting and enforcing design rights: United Kingdom

Hiddleston Trade Marks
The United Kingdom has a relatively complex system for the protection of designs. For example, five possible forms of protection are available for aspects of a design.

Protecting and enforcing design rights: United States

The legal system in the United States provides several venues for securing the protection of a design. The appearance of a product can potentially be protected by the following types of IP right: design patents; copyrights; trade dress; and utility patents.