A design constitutes the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. A design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or colour.
The design or shape of a product can be synonymous with the branding and image of a company and can become an asset with increasing monetary value. If you do not apply for protection others may benefit from your investments.
In law, a design is the outward appearance of a product or part of it, resulting from the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture, materials and/or its ornamentation.
The registration of a design provides its owner with the exclusive right, for a limited period of time, only on the appearance of a product. A design cannot protect the function of a product. More specifically, the owner of a registered design is entitled to prevent an unauthorised third party from making, offering, marketing, importing, exporting or using a product in which the design is incorporated or to which it is applied, or holding stock of such a product for those purposes.
As a general rule, to be registrable, a design must meet the following basic requirements, depending on the national/regional law:
• Novelty: no identical design has been made available to the public before the application date.
• Individual character: this requirement is met if the overall impression that a design makes on informed users differs from the overall impression made on such user by any earlier design (which has been made available to the public).