Design protection – a well-considered decision
For every product, the question of how it should look always comes up eventually. If the design is not dictated solely by technical considerations, there is a good chance that you can register it as a design with individual character.
For example, if you're designing a new set of cutlery, it goes without saying that you need to create a new and original design. But when it comes to covers for industrial welding machine, it's likely that the technical requirements are going to be more important.
In both cases, a well-considered strategy for protecting your design right should answer the following questions: what do you want to protect, where and in which countries?
Strategy for protecting your design right – some guidelines
Here are some strategic pointers. Design protection:
- is very simple and inexpensive to apply for > Filing an application
- can be applied for on the basis of drawings – a prototype isn’t necessary > Representing a design
- only relates to the details of a product, e.g. the winding button of a wristwatch relates to two-dimensional patterns or three-dimensional shapes, or a combination of both – the illustrations determine the scope of protection > Creative 2D and 3D designs
- can be combined with other IP rights that already implicitly include the design, e.g. a patent or a three-dimensional trade mark
- requires the design to be new and have individual character, which is not always easy to determine > Design novelty and priority
- is advisable for countries or regions where the product will be manufactured, used, marketed or developed > Applying to register a design nationally or internationally
- can be kept confidential for up to 30 months after applying to register > Deferring publication of a design
Harmonisation and partial revision of guidelines as of 1 July 2023
Conference on Intellectual Property & Sustainability at the University of Geneva
Symposium: "Best practices in the fight against counterfeiting & piracy – NFTs not your cup of tea? Well, they should: NFTs as a new way of fighting counterfeiting and piracy"