Designs protect the appearance of a product or part of a product. Almost any industrial or handicraft item can be eligible for design protection (except for computer programs). Typical examples are clothes, textiles, packaging, household items, furniture but also web designs or business presentation concepts (for e.g. stores) as well as more complex products like cars.
Furthermore, protection can also be filed for graphic symbols und typefaces, extensive collections of parts in products as well as assembled products. The appearance of the whole or a part of a product results from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colors, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation.
To obtain design protection, novelty and individual character is requested. It is new, if no identical design has been published before. If two designs can only be distinguished by unsignificant detail, they are considered as being identical. A design is considered to have individual character, if it produces a different overall impression on the informed user from that produced by prior designs.
LHIP offers both identity und individual character research of designs. Our customers define the research strategy. However, we offer adequate support in finding the right search parameters. Typically, research is based on the Locarno Classification in countries, in which activities are planned (to avoid infringement) or covers international design rights as far as possible to check if a design is new/ individual.
LHIP design research covers more than 40 offices including the international organizations European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the World International Property Organization (WIPO). We search designs in the international database Orbit. Moreover, Nordic designs, registered at the national offices Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, can be searched directly at the offices. We do not search so called unregistered design rights. Thus, we recommend additional search of applicable online portals.¹
LHIP offers special conditions when searching designs in the EU28 countries, the Nordic countries and German-speaking countries. Please contact us for more information on our services.
¹ For the unregistered design to obtain protection, it has to be disclosed to the public. However, the owner has the burden of proof, that a certain model has been disclosed. Typically, unregistered designs are disclosed by publishing the model in physical media, trade fair catalogues or online portals. Unregistered designs are protected for three years only (registered designs can be protected for up to 25 years).