Designs: A Global Guide 2019

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

Special focus

Litigating design disputes

GLP Intellectual Property Office
Designs are relevant to a wide range of products belonging to industry, fashion and crafts. As a result, counterfeiting no longer affects only trademarks, but is now increasingly affecting designs as well.

Graphical user interfaces – good design is essential

McAndrews, Held & Malloy
Whether with smartphones, tablets or even autonomous vehicles, controlling the visual landscape under the ‘glass’ of display screens is a central battleground for technology-driven companies. 

Design rights: European union

VOSSIUS & Partner Patentanwälte Rechtsanwälte mbB
In the European Union, the appearance of all industrial and handicraft items, product parts, packaging, get-up, graphic symbols and typographic typefaces is protectable as a design.

Country chapters

Protecting and enforcing design rights: China

Liu Shen & Associates
In China, a design can generally be protected under copyright, trademark or patent law. Copyright mainly protects a design in the artistic sense, while trademarks focus on the distinctiveness of a design. For an industrial design, only patent law is applicable.

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

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Greece

Dr Helen G Papaconstantinou and Partners Law Firm
With regard to national industrial designs, Greece has a ‘partially cumulative’ protection system. According to this doctrine, a registered design is eligible for protection under both copyright and design law, provided that the requirements for each type of right apply. 

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Hungary

SBGK Attorneys at Law and Patent Attorneys
The national industrial design protection regime grants legal protection for the appearance of the whole or a part of a product, from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and materials of the product itself or its ornamentation.

Protecting and enforcing design rights: India

While the Indian Patent Office has four branches (in Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai), there is only one branch of the Design Office, which is found in Kolkata.

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Israel

Reinhold Cohn Group
A design will be considered new if an identical design, or a design that differs only in non-essential details, has not been made available to the public before its disclosure date.

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 to enjoy protection are novelty and individual character. However, design applications are examined for compliance with formal requirements only.

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: Spain

PADIMA Fresh IP Atelier
The legal framework relating to industrial designs in Spain is circumscribed, as far as national legislation is concerned, to Law 20/2003 on the Legal Protection of Industrial Designs (7 July 2003) and the Regulation for the Implementation of Law 20/2003 on the Legal Protection of Industrial Designs, approved by Royal Decree 1937/2004 (7 September 2004).

Protecting and enforcing design rights: Switzerland

Beutler Künzi Stutz AG
Swiss design is characterised by its hybrid status – it is influenced by the German tradition of functionalism and the Italian radical design of the 1960s. Swiss design lies somewhere between ‘form follows function’ and ‘anything goes’ – it is functional yet rich; linear while unexpected; practical and refreshing.

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 10 January 2017. 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

Elkington and Fife LLP
There is a clear legal distinction between the ‘monopoly right’ in a registered design and the ‘right to prevent copying’ of an unregistered design.

Protecting and enforcing design rights: United States

Banner & Witcoff, Ltd
The grant of a design patent entitles the owner to exclusive rights to that design, such that the owner may bring suit against an infringer. In order to assess whether a design patent has been infringed, the scope of protection available to the allegedly infringed design must be properly determined.