Design-Protection / Registered Designs

In Germany and Europe there exist three systems of registered designs. As usual, a national design can be filed in each single country. In order to safe time and money, it is also possible to file an International application with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO/OMPI) in Geneva. But this possibility to deposit designs according to the Hague Agreement does not cover many states, not even all EU-states are included.

The so-called Community design is the latest of the three systems. By one single application in Alicante, a design with effect in all 27 member states is established. The community design is a very modern protective right which was specially adapted to the needs of the applying companies. A particular novelty is the so-called "not-registered Community design". Here the design protection is based on the first publication of the model, for example by showing the model on an exhibition or by publishing it in a specialist magazine. Therefore the protection is given without application and basically without costs. On the other hand the protection is limited to three years and is only effective against real imitations and as a consequence not against casual conformities. With regard to the single requirements - which cannot all be listed here - we are prepared to give you corresponding advice.

Since 01 June 2004 a new German trademark law is valid which follows the European law to a great extend. But there exists no design without registration in this new law.

In general a design protects the new shape - the design - of an object. Yet you have to be aware that the design is only capable of being protected when it is new an peculiar, i.e. that the design should stand out against well-known designs. The more the new design stands out against the prior art the greater is the protection against imitations.

The responsible authorities for the application do not examine these requirements but register the design if the formal requirements are fulfilled. As a consequence the owner of a design should make sure by searches that his design is capable of being protected.

Seit dem 01. Juni 2004 ist ein neues deutsches Geschmacksmusterrecht in Kraft. Dieses ist weitgehend an das europäische Recht angelehnt. Allerdings gibt es hier kein Geschmacksmuster ohne Eintragung.

Generell schützt ein Geschmacksmuster die neue Formgestaltung – das Design - eines Gegenstandes. Dabei ist zu beachten, dass die Gestaltung nur dann schutzfähig ist, wenn sie neu und eigenartig ist, das heißt, dass sich das Design von vorbekannten Gestaltungen abheben muss. Je weiter es sich vom vorbekannten Formenschatz abhebt, desto weiter ist der Schutz gegenüber Nachbildungen.

Die für die Anmeldung zuständigen Behörden prüfen diese Voraussetzungen nicht, sondern tragen das Geschmacksmuster bei Vorliegen der formellen Voraussetzungen ein. Vor einer rechtlichen Auseinandersetzung sollte sich daher der Geschmacksmusterinhaber durch Recherchen vergewissern, dass sein Geschmacksmuster schutzfähig ist.