Registering a design – this is how you proceed

If you register your design, you prevent plagiarism and copying by competitors. We’ll show you under what conditions you can get design protection and what you need to consider when applying for it.

Contents of this page

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1. What can I protect as a design?

The term design is defined by law. According to this definition, a design is a two- or three-dimensional appearance of a whole product or a

Do you want to register a design? Call us at 0221-80067680.

This appearance should result in particular from the features of the lines, contours, colors, shape, surface structure or materials of the product itself or its ornamentation.

For example, a design can refer to:

  • The design of a building
  • Logos and graphics
  • Fashion
  • Shape and design of furniture
  • External and/or internal appearance of a car, motorcycle or other vehicle

2. Requirements for design protection

In order to be able to protect a design, two main characteristics are required: The design must be new and have individual character.

a) New

The design is new if no identical design has been disclosed before the application. A design can therefore only be registered once by an applicant.

ExampleYou cannot protect the apple logo of the "Apple" company as a design for your confectionery. Since the registration by "Apple" it is no longer new.

The priority principle applies, i.e. "first come, first served". We therefore recommend that you think about protecting your design already in the development phase of a design.

ExampleEntrepreneur A produces unusual furniture. Next he would like to launch kitchen chairs in the shape of a spoon. Before publishing the product, A should check whether such a design already exists and is protected. If not, he should get the design protected before he publishes it.

Otherwise, someone could copy your design more easily. Above all, A ensures in this way itself that the design is no longer new at the time of registration.

b) peculiarity of the design

Eigenart requires that the overall impression of the design is different from the overall impression of other designs. So a certain individuality and distinctiveness are required.

ExampleFor your confectionery logo you use an apple that has been bitten off at the left side. Even if this design is not identical to the "Apple" logo, it still lacks its own peculiarity. The mirroring of the logo doesn’t change that.

AttentionWhether your design is actually new and has individual character is not examined by the application authority! This is not possible for practical reasons. There are countless possibilities in design creation. In any case, the assessment of the individual character also requires an evaluative consideration. Due to the large number of applications, the DPMA cannot guarantee such an examination.

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