Many objects acquire their character by means of their aesthetics. Traditionally this includes fabrics, furniture, lighting, etc. However, technical objects are increasingly being designed with aesthetics in mind, for example, computers, television sets, telephones, etc., and even capital goods such as machine tools. There are a number of reasons for this. Products with a special design appear to be of higher quality, meaning they can be marketed at a higher price, or they may seem more pleasant or enjoyable to use, or in particular because a special design provides added opportunities to protect the product against product piracy and counterfeit.
Design protection is not limited to identical copies, but includes any imitations that have been modified, yet nevertheless incorporate the most important design elements. Protection is enforceable - at least in Germany - quickly and effectively by means of a provisional injunction, which is inexpensive and simple to file.
Design Protection Abroad
Design protection abroad can be obtained via an EU-wide design application, the so-called Community Design Application, an international design registration, the so-called Hague Design, or through national applications abroad.
Applications for Community designs are - in analogy with Union trademarks – to be filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), where they are formally examined and, if the formal requirements are met, registered. There is no substantive examination of protectability of designs. A registered Community design offers uniform protection in all EU member states.
According to the so-called Hague Agreement (Haager Musterabkommen, HMA) it is possible to have a design entered in an international register. Associated applications must be filed with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). More than 70 countries worldwide participate in the Hague System, including the USA, Japan, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland and Norway. A list of all participating countries/regions is available at https://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/treaties/en/documents/pdf/hague.pdf
From day one, our office has been serving clients who regularly file applications for design patents domestically at the German Patent and Trademark Office (Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt), within the EU at the European Union Intellectual Property Office as well as internationally at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva.
We represent our clients not only before the appropriate offices, but also before the ordinary courts in the event of design patent infringements. Of course we also conduct research into existing design protection rights which may be in place and provide expert opinions in the event of conflicts with existing design protection rights.
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