So you’ve decided you want to file a registered design to protect the look of your product.
Designs are registered by filing an application. Compared to patents, the process of obtaining a registered design is relatively quick and inexpensive.
Of course, the main part of the application is showcasing the design itself, i.e. providing drawings of the product you want to protect. Our top tips for registering designs are set out below:
Depicting your design using black and white line drawings means that the drawings of your product will have a broad interpretation when compared to infringing products. If you use a specific colour combination, your scope of protection for the design will be limited to that colour combination.
In many countries, dotted or dashed lines can be used to help put the product in context but not limit the scope of design protection. Those aspects shown in solid lines will limit the scope of protection, while those shown in dotted lines will be viewed as purely contextual. For example, a design application for a smartphone case might show the smartphone in dotted lines to provide context, but without limiting the scope of protection.
When your product has contoured shapes, it’s tempting to use grayscale shading. However, if shading is used then the scope of protection provided by the design will be limited by the shading. It’s therefore always best to keep to line drawings.
Registered design applications in the EU can be filed with up to 7 views of the product. Use this to your advantage by showing your product from a range of angles to make it easier to understand its features.
Typically, these show the product from the top, bottom, front, back, left, right sides as well as a perspective view.
In Europe, variants of the same product can typically be filed together in one application. Tiered pricing for multiple designs filed together make it cheaper than filing separate applications for each design. Each design in the application can have up to 7 views.
For example, if you have three different lampshade designs, filing them together in one application works out cheaper than three separate applications.
In general, when you file a design in Europe it will become registered within weeks of filing and be published for the world to see.
If you want to secure protection early, but not let your competitors see what you are about to launch then you can ask for it to be kept secret for up to 30 months. This adds to the cost of the registered design, but offers protection from competitors. The registered design can then be published on request whenever you’re ready.
Answer last updated: 17 Jan 2018Tags: