Design Protection

Industrial designs protect the appearance of products. Registered designs can be used to protect packaging, designs, computer icons, logos, 2D and 3D figures as well as product shapes.

Registered designs are the most important form of legal protection for industrial designs. The design of a product or service is often an important competitive factor. By registering designs it is possible to reinforce the marketable characteristics of a product and strengthening its commercial identity. In many cases, design has been the subject of significant investment, both in terms of time and money. Design protection is a means of protecting these investments and preventing competitors from copying the design of a product.

The requirements for design registration are based on novelty, individual character, and appearance. What matters most is the overall impression given by the design. In general, a design cannot be considered to have individual character if it only differs from previously known designs in some minor details. The individual character of a design is assessed from the point of view of an informed user. The features of the appearance of a product must not be determined solely by its technical characteristics. Technical solutions must be protected by a patent or utility model.

The Community designs enjoy EU-wide protection for a maximum period of 25 years, provided that the design registration is renewed every five years. Unregistered design protection (3 years) is also available, but with a very narrow scope of protection against copying. In addition, unlike in the case of a registered design, the holder of an unregistered design has the burden of proof of the existence of the design.

Design registration is becoming increasingly valuable, in particular as a tool against infringers and copiers, especially in e-commerce and on digital platforms. Registration itself has a preventive effect and, together with fast and relatively inexpensive registration procedures, designs should always be part of your overall IP strategy.

We assist our clients early in the design process, creating and collaborating on design applications that protect products from unauthorised commercial use, and strengthen our clients’ competitive advantage in the marketplace. It is therefore worth registering a design well in advance of a product being released or put on the market. The requirement of novelty means that a product intended to be protected by a design right may not be sold or marketed before an application for registration has been filed with the Registration Authority.

The strength of design registration is largely determined by the type of images of the product used in the application. It is therefore worthwhile to think carefully about what is important and individual about the design of the product, how the product should be identified, and what are its most distinctive and unique parts before filing a design right application.

We assist our clients in obtaining the best possible protection for their products, both in Finland and in the EU. Our experts have wide experience in design protection and dispute resolution related to it.

We help our clients with issues such as:

  • preliminary searches worldwide
  • registrability assessments
  • worldwide registration of designs
  • global monitoring system against confusing designs filed by third parties

We offer advice tailored to our clients’ needs on all aspects of design registrations. We advise on how design protection works best as part of an overall IP strategy.

We assist our clients to review and assess the design rights of competitors, both nationally and internationally.