Registered designs under German law protect the appearance of your products
Registered designs protect the appearance of industrially manufactured or manually crafted products, for example, clothes, furniture, vehicles, fabrics, decorative objects or graphical symbols. Parts of products can also be protected by a registered design, for example, the sole of a sports shoe or the cap of a writing instrument.
Through a registered design the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) grants a limited monopoly on the appearance, that means the shape, pattern and colours of a product. The illustrations of the design filed together with the are essential since they determine the subject matter and scope of protection. Only those items are protected that are shown visibly in the illustrations.
Companies or private individuals can apply for registered designs. Protection arises when the design is entered in the Design Register kept at the DPMA and the registered design provides protection for the whole of the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. The term of protection of a registered design lasts up to 25 years maximum from the filing date.
Rights conferred by registered designs
As the holder of a registered design you have the exclusive right to use the design. You can prohibit any third party from using your design for making, selling or importing and exporting products. That means that as the holder of the design you can take action against any design that produces on an informed user the same overall impression as the registered design.
Applying for an European Design and international design protection
Designs registered at the DPMA are only valid in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. If you wish to protect your design in the member states of the European Union or in other countries, you can apply for a Europe-wide Community design or for international registration of your design.