Bereich Designs


bar chart: Registered designs at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office 2016-2020

Registered designs at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office

Compared to the previous year, a slight increase in the number of design applications can be observed. In 2020, 39,450 designs in 6,113 single and multiple applications were filed with the DPMA. This means that the number of applications rose by 2.7%, while the total number of designs applied for fell by 8.5% compared to the previous year. An application can contain up to 100 individual designs.

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, the figures initially dropped but, by the end of the year, this trend was offset by further filing activity.

An increased number of design applications were received for specific products in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. The most frequently filed designs concerned the areas “mouth and nose protection”, “spit screens” or “disinfection equipment”.

In the past year, we conclusively dealt with requests for the registration in the register for a total of 41,350 designs. Our Jena sub-office entered 37,124 of these designs in the Design Register; this corresponds to 89.8% (2019: 91.5%). Our applicants again frequently made use of the option of combining up to 100 designs in a multiple application: In 2020, this option was used for well over half of the applications (57.1%). About eleven designs on average were filed per multiple application. The applicants may file a request not to publish the images of a registered design (deferment of publication of the representation). This way they can save money on fees because this results in a reduction of the filing fee. However, in that case, design protection ends after 30 months from the filing or priority date if it is not extended by payment of the extension fee. The proportion of designs applied for for which deferment of publication of the representation was requested dropped to 24.4% (2019: 27.8%).

290,549 designs were registered at our office at the end of 2020.

With 89.4%, a large proportion of the registered designs originated again from Germany. The number of registered designs from abroad further declined. A total of 3,507 registered designs came from other European countries (2019: 4,128), 410 from non-European countries (2019: 831). In 2020, the clear majority of registered designs from abroad again originated from Italy.

A detailed overview of the top companies and institutions in terms of registered designs can be found in our statistics section.

Registered designs in 2020 by countries of origin
countries of originRegistered designsPercentage
Germany 33,207 89.4
Italy 1,913 5.2
Switzerland 884 2.4
Austria 192 0.5
USA 151 0.4
Czech Republic 136 0.4
Japan 118 0.3
Poland 113 0.3
Netherlands 94 0.3
China 69 0.2
Others 247 0.7
Total 37,124100

In 2020, most of the 33,207 domestic registered designs (31.9%) were filed by individuals or companies based in North Rhine-Westphalia (10,596 registered designs). For thirteen years in a row, North Rhine-Westphalia has been at the top of the list of the German Länder. It was once again followed by Bavaria with 6,143 registered designs (18.5%) and Baden-Württemberg with 5,037 registered designs (15.2%) in 2020.

If the cursor is moved over the chart, it shows the design applications in 2020 per German Länder (residence or principal place of business of the applicant).

Registered designs by German Länder Map Germany Munich Jena Berlin Hesse 1,532 Hamburg 716 Bremen 98 Brandenburg 172 Berlin 1,733 Bavaria 6,143 Baden-Württemberg 5,037 Lower Saxony 2,549 North Rhine-Westphalia 10,596 Schleswig-Holstein 893 Saxony 1,270 Saxony-Anhalt 581 Saarland 308 Rhineland-Palatinate 1,113 Thuringia 278 Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 188
Registered designs by German Länder in 2020 (registered designs per 100,000 inhabitants)

bar chart: Registered designs by German Länder in 2020 per 100,000 inhabitants

With 9,337, most designs (14.4%) were again registered in the class of goods 6 (furnishing) in 2020.

The class of goods 32 (graphic symbols and logos, surface patterns, ornamentation) came second with 10.7%, followed by class 2 (articles of clothing and haberdashery) with 9.1%.

The largest growth compared to 2019 (+88.2%) was achieved by class 25 (building units and construction elements). Due to the continuing construction boom, despite the coronavirus pandemic, this class made it into the top 5 classes of goods for the first time since 2004.

In total, the 37,124 registered designs were registered in 64,639 classes of goods.

Top 5 Classes of goods 
Classes of goods of registered designs * at the DPMA in 2020
(* A design can be attributed to several classes of goods.)

Bar chart: Classes of goods of registered designs  at the DPMA in 2020. Top 5 Classes of goods: Cl. 6 Furnishing (9337), Cl. 32 Graphic symbols and logos, surface patterns, ornamentation (6920), Cl. 2 Articles of clothing and haberdashery (5876), Cl. 26 Lighting apparatus (5723) und Cl. 25 Building units and construction elements (4560). 

A registered design may enjoy protection for a maximum period of 25 years from the filing date. Changes of the register entry may be effected by various procedures during that period:

  • Renewal or cancellation
    A term of protection is five years. Renewal fees must be paid at the end of each term to renew protection. If protection is not renewed, we will cancel the registered design in the register.
  • Extension
    If a design was initially registered only for a 30-month period of protection from the filing or priority date, deferring publication of the representation, the owner of the registered design may pay a fee to extend the period of protection to the first five years after the filing date.
  • Recording of changes
    We will record a change for an IP right in the register, for example, if it is transferred from the owner to another person or if there is a change of representative.

In 2020, 56 applications for determination or declaration of invalidity were filed (2019: 29). The application for determination or declaration of invalidity will be served on the owner after examination of the admissibility requirements. If the application is not contested within one month, invalidity shall be determined or declared by decision of the Design Division without further substantive examination and the design in question will be cancelled in the Design Register after the decision has become final. However, if the application is contested in due time, an official examination will be conducted of the grounds of invalidity (the appearance of the product does not constitute a design, lack of novelty or individual character; exclusion from design protection; earlier conflicting rights). Subsequently, the Design Division will take a decision in proceedings that – also with regard to the costs to be borne — are essentially based on the Code of Civil Procedure (Zivilprozessordnung). In 2020, a total of 63 design invalidity proceedings were concluded.