If your business is based on creating new uniquely designed products then you should definitely care about legal protection of your designs. Nearly every design can be registered whether you are creating special packaging for groceries, flasks, parfumes or you are crafter of unique furniture, jewelry or your business is based on tailoring or luxury goods crafting.
We will discuss the designs from international legal point of view. Most of these principles are applicable worldwide whether you want to protect your design on national, regional or international level.
What is design?
According to law, design means the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of a goods. It may consists of three dimensional feature like shape of goods or two dimensional features such as lines, colors or patterns.
Registered design is a grant of exclusive rights to your design within the certain territory. Design is always granted by some authority – state. In other words, registered design allows you to exclude others from using your design without your prior consent.
Design of nearly every article in which designing creativity applies can potentialy be registered. Here are some examples:
If you want to register your design to get full design protection of your work, there are some options you can choose from. Most countries have their own national systems of design protection however there are also regional and international level systems to maximalize the extent of your design protection.
You can contact us so we can help you choose the most suitable option for you or even assist you in the process of design registration on national, regional or international level.
Yes, in most countries, in order to be protected by local laws, design must be registered by the state authority. However some countries have established limited protection for unregistered designs if the certain conditions are met.
The design protection does not automaticaly arises once you create your design as it is in copyright protection system. But in some cases copyright protection may also apply as the various design creations meet the criteria of copyrightable work.
As the territorial principle applies here, the protection is only granted within the country in which you have registered your design. Exception from this are for instance the regional design systems where your design registration is valid throughout the territory of all member states of that regional union. And yes, that suddenly means you are not protected by your Armenia registered design in the Estonia.
Novelty and originality are the main conditions which design must meet in order to be eligible for registration.
Novelty means that the same design has not been previously been disclosed to the public. Originality means that the design differs from the already known designs or design combinations.
Registered design system exists on international, regional and national levels. On international level there is Hague system through which you can seek design protection in multiple countries throughout the world with a single application.
On the regional level there is for instance European Union system administered by European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO). These allow you to register your design in certain region with a single application and that can save you a lot of money and time in the process.
If you are willing to protect your design on the national level, most countries of the world have established national design registration systems which are mainly administered by the national industrial property offices.
Once your design is registered you have exclusive right to authorize everyone else for its usage, selling, making, distribution and a few other related rights.
The registered design protection mostly lasts for maximum amount of 25 years from the date on which your design application was filed. However in most countries you must renew the duration of your registered design every 5 years in order to remain its effect. This may wary from country to country.
There are various ways of monetizing your registered design. Two main options are that you either use your registered design to get competitive edge in your market area and second is that you sell your registered design to someone who can use it as his competitive edge. Another very popular option is to licence your registered design to someone else and gain passive income regularly.