You can file design applications online (DPMAdirektWeb) - without signature. You do not need to download software nor have a signature card. You will be guided through the application process in six steps and can apply for up to ten designs without much effort, fast and at low cost. The costs for the design application is 60 euros; if the publication of the representation (illustration) is deferred, it is 30 euros.
Link to online filing of design applications (in German only)
Today, design plays a considerable role in the buying decision. It provides impetus and sparks emotions. Since functional differences between products have become fewer and life cycles shorter, the visual appearance of a product is often the only perceivable distinctive feature to the customers. With attractive colours, patterns and shapes of products, companies can appeal to the emotions of customers and create customer loyalty.
Registered designs protect the colours, patterns and shapes of almost all products which can be manufactured industrially or crafted manually, for example, clothes, furniture, 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.
The registered design confers a limited monopoly on the shape, pattern and colours of a product. The illustrations of the design filed together with the application 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 German Patent and Trade Mark Office 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 is up to 25 years maximum from the filing date.
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. 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.
Designs registered at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office are only valid in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. If you wish to market 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.
These pages comprise only the basic facts about registered designs. That is why they also contain simplified and generalised statements. It is not possible to present the subject here in an exhaustive and authoritative manner. For more detailed information please see the fact sheets published by the DPMA or the legal texts. The relevant legal basis is laid down in the Design Act (Designgesetz) and the Design Ordinance (Designverordnung).
© 2016 Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt | Last updated 21/02/17