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Design protection for shapes and colours

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The design of a product is one of the key factors for its success in the market. It may become an important asset of your enterprise.

Design registration provides the adequate IP protection for the appearance of your product. Designs rights protect the colours and shapes of products - from cars to lemon squeezers.

What is a registered design?

The registered design protects the design of three-dimensional objects - for example furniture, cars or toys. You can also apply to register a design in respect of two-dimensional patterns - such as textiles, wallpapers, logos, graphical images or icons.

The registration gives you the exclusive right to use the design. You can prohibit others from using the design without your consent. This comprises all conceivable acts relating to your design - for example, offering of products incorporating your design, making, selling, importing or exporting such products.

Design protection arises when the design is entered in the Designs Register. The protection can last for 25 years from the filing date.

European and international applications

Designs registered at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office are only valid in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. Do you wish to market you products in Europe or worldwide? Then you can apply for a Europe-wide Community design or an international industrial design.

A glance at the legal texts

These pages summarise the basic facts about registered designs. For this reason, they contain simplified and generalised statements. It is not possible to present all design issues here in an exhaustive and authoritative manner. For more detailed information please see the fact sheets published by the DPMA or, in case of doubt, the legal texts. The legal basis for design protection is laid down in the Designgesetz (Designs Act) and the Designverordnung (Designs Ordinance).

© 2016 Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt | Last updated 07/12/16