Design Protection in Europe and Germany


Design Protection in Europe and Germany (Design Patent)

A design patent can protect the exterior design of a product, graphical symbols and typographic typefaces. A design patent is a comparably cost efficient IP right and its maximal term of protection can reach up to 25 years.

General Information

A design patent protects the outer appearance of a product or part thereof, graphical symbols or typographic typefaces. A design patent can be upheld in Europe and Germany up to 25 years.

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Requirements for Design Protection

A design must be novel and have individual character in order to be protected by a European Community design or a German design patent. A design has individual character, if the overall impression it produces on the informed user differs from the overall impression produced on such a user by any other design which has been made available to the public before. When assessing individual character, the degree of freedom of the designer in developing the design shall be taken into consideration.

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European Community Design

A Community Design application for all countries of the European Union can be field at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The European Community design has a grace period of 12 months for own prior use and publication before the filing date or priority date.

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German Design Patent

A German design patent can be filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO) in Munich. The German Design Act also provides a grace period of 12 months for own prior use and publication before the filing date or priority date. Further, the German Design Act provides an exhibition priority for presentation on an exhibition admitted by the German Ministry of Justice in the Federal Law Gazette for providing protection at exhibitions and an exhibition priority.

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Foreign Filing in Europe or Germany

A priority of an earlier design patent application can be claimed within 6 months of the filing date, both for a European Community design and a German design patent.

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Further Information

Further information, for example, with regard to an International Design (Hague System), multiple applications, deferment of publication, as well as cancelation or nullity proceedigns are availble upon request.

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