Industrial Designs FAQ
Everything you really need to know about iGERENT's Services
Registration time frames vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction. A design filed in the European Union that meets all formal requirements can be registered in one week, while the same design in the United States can take up to 2 years.
Generally speaking, the following information is required when filing an application for a design registration:
- The design title.
- The Locarno class(es) in which you seek protection (voluntary requirement).
- Brief description of the design.
- Complete personal details of the design’s author.
- Complete personal details of the design’s owner (in cases where the author and owner are not the same).
- Depending on the country, a Power of Attorney may be required.
In some countries, “families of designs” are allowed to be presented through a single application, thus allowing different products to be protected through a single registration, as long as they fall under the protection of the same Locarno class.
Contrary to what happens with trademark registration procedures where the process is quite homogeneous in all countries, industrial design registration procedures vary greatly from country to country. Please see the following countries as examples:
- European Union: The EUIPO does not conduct a substantial examination of the applications received. If the formal requirements are met, the design is registered without any further evaluation. The design will only be formally examined if it receives a nullity action filed by a third party.
- Australia: If the formal requirements are met, the design will be registered. Substantial examination is voluntary and it is up to the owner of the design to request it or not. If requested, additional fees must be paid.
- United States: In this country, the examiner conducts an examination for both the formal and the substantial requirements of the design. If all requirements are not met, the design will be denied.
Generally speaking, a registered design that has not gone through substantial examination allows its owner the right to sell the protected product in the country where it is registered without the worry of third parties restricting commercialization. However, exclusive rights are not granted and the design may have to compete with identical or similar designs in commerce.
Some countries, mainly in Europe, have the concept of the “unregistered design”, which protects the specific appearance of a product for a period of 3 years counting from the date that the design was made accessible to the public. However, it is important to point out that the protection is weak and it only protects against identical copies of the same design.