What are industrial designs?
Industrial designs are key elements in the creation and commercialisation of products in the European Union. They are defined as the appearance of a product or a part of it, arising from characteristics such as lines, shapes, colors, textures or materials, as well as ornamentation. This covers a wide range of industrial and craft products, excluding, for example, only computer programs and semiconductor products, which are protected by other legal means.
These designs not only provide aesthetic value to the products, but also play a vital role in the differentiation and identity of companies in a highly competitive and globalized market such as the European Union. Protecting these designs is essential to promote innovation and ensure competitive advantage.
Legal advice for industrial designs
Our firm has extensive experience in the protection of industrial designs in the European Union and Spain, offering comprehensive legal advice that ranges from the initial application to intellectual property surveillance. Here we detail the key aspects of our services:
- Community and Spanish Designs:We offer advice on the registration of community and Spanish designs. We work closely with our clients to develop customized protection strategies that fit their specific needs and objectives, taking into account their budget and business demands.
- Administrative Procedures:Our team is highly trained to handle all administrative aspects related to industrial designs. We manage the application and processing process, ensuring that all documents and requirements are met in an efficient and timely manner. We also take care of the renewal of registered designs, which in the European Union must be requested every 5 years, for a maximum of 25 years of protection.
- Registered Designs vs. Unregistered Designs:We advise our clients in choosing between registered and unregistered designs. We explain the differences and advantages of each option, allowing customers to make informed decisions about how to protect their creations in the best posible way.
- Litigation and Legal Actions:In the event of infringement or disputes related to industrial designs, our firm is prepared to represent our clients. We develop solid strategies and, when necessary, we assist our clients in filing annulment actions and appeals to protect their industrial property rights.
- International Surveillance:We offer international surveillance services to ensure continuous protection of our clients’ designs. This monitoring is essential to identify any potentially infringing activity and take proactive steps to defend your assets.
How to register an industrial design?
The process of registering an industrial design in the European Union involves several steps:
- Identification and Evaluation:The first step is to identify the design that you want to protect and evaluate whether it meets the legal requirements. It must be new and unique to the informed EU user.
- Registration Request:Once identified and evaluated, a registration application is submitted to the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The application must include up to 7 graphical representations of the same design, from different perspectives: the more perspectives are presented, the more complete the protection tends to be.
- Examination and Registration:The EUIPO will carry out a formal examination to determine whether the design meets the essential application requirements. If approved, the design is registered and protection is granted in just a few days.
- Duration of Protection:The duration of protection for a design registered in the European Union is 5 years from the application, with the possibility of renewing its protection up to 4 times (for a total of 25 years of protection)
Frequently Asked Questions from Our Clients
When our clients seek our industrial design services, they often ask a variety of questions. Here we answer some of the most common questions:
- What is industrial design?An industrial design is the appearance of a product or part of it that is derived from characteristics such as lines, shapes, colors, textures or materials, and that contributes to its aesthetic value.
- What is the difference between a registered design and an unregistered one?A registered design offers broader protection and can last up to 25 years, while an unregistered design provides limited protection for 3 years from first publication or disclosure.
- When should I register a design?It is recommended to register a design before its public release to ensure protection. Prior disclosure may affect the novelty of the design if some criteria defined by the applicable Law are not respected.
- What happens if someone copies my design?If a third party copies your design, you can take legal action to protect your intellectual property rights and claim damages.
- What happens if my design changes after registration?It is important to resubmit the registration application if the design changes significantly. Failure to update may affect protection.
- How long does it take to get a registered design?The time may vary, but generally, at the EUIPO, it is completed in a few days (the EUIPO does not carry out an examination in accordance with the elements of novelty and uniqueness). At the national level, however, the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTO) can take months from the submission of the application to granting the concession.
- What countries are included in a community design (RCD)?A community design provides protection in all member countries of the European Union. As a result of Brexit, the United Kingdom is no longer part of a community design.
- What happens if my design is used in a country outside the European Union?You can seek protection in non-EU countries through international agreements and harmonized international protection systems. Our firm offers international protection strategies for industrial designs tailored to the commercial requirements of the case.
- What is the difference between an industrial design and a patent?Designs protect the aesthetic appearance of a product, while patents protect inventions that offer technical solutions to technical problems. Design protection cannot cover technical elements of a product.
In summary, the protection of industrial designs in the European Union is an essential process for companies that want to protect their creativity and differentiate themselves in a competitive market. Our firm offers comprehensive legal advice that covers all aspects of the registration and protection of industrial designs in Spain and the European Union, providing our clients with the necessary tools to maintain a competitive advantage and defend their intellectual and industrial property rights at an international level.