Design registration

The big advantage of design registration is that you can take quick and effective action against anybody who tries to imitate or copy your product. A design has to be registered, namely, before it is eligible for protection under the law. NLO Shieldmark can advising you about filing of a design and take care of all the design registration and renewal formalities for you.  


National or international design protection?

Before a design can be protected in a certain country, it has to be registered with the design office for that country. In some cases, a single application will be enough to gain protection under the law in several countries. The latter applies for: 


  • The Benelux
  • The European Union; where one design registration gives you protection in all 27 member states (the so-called “Community design”).


Choosing the right option for the registration of your design will depend, amongst other things, on the countries in which you are commercially active.


Requirements for design registration

The most important requirements for the registration of a design are: 


  1. There must be a clear graphic representation showing all the distinctive features of the design. Should a conflict arise, this graphic representation will be used as the basis for a comparison with the infringing design.
  2. The design holder details must be correct. If the registration is made in the name of a legal person or natural person who does not exist, for example, this will lead to the cancellation of a registration.


Criteria for design registration

In order to be eligible for registration, a design must be ‘novel’ or new. This means the design must not have been previously disclosed to the public. In this context, “disclosed to the public" is understood in the broadest sense. For example, even if a design only appeared in a school magazine or was exhibited at a trade fair, this would still count as “disclosure to the public".


Multiple design filing

It is possible to file for the registration of several designs in a single application. This makes multiple design applications very cost effective. In Europe, for example, there is no limit on the number of designs that can be included in a multiple design application. However, this is only on the condition that all the designs fall within the same category. For example, several musical instruments can be included in the same application, but not a combination of both watches and decorative jewellery.


Validity period for design registrations

A design registration is usually valid for a period of five years. A registration can also be renewed for a maximum of four additional periods of five years. The maximum validity period for a design registration is therefore 25 years.


Design rights or copyrights?

In some cases, a work is not only protected under design law, but also under copyright law. The copyright is established automatically at the moment of creation of the work. However, this is only on the condition that the work is original and has an individual character.


Nonetheless, until a court ruling has been made, it is not definitively established that a work is protected by copyright. In many cases, therefore, it is advisable to register a design as well.



Would you like to register a design? We can handle all the drawing up, submission and renewal formalities for your design registration application for you. Feel free to contact us for more information.

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Fake invoices

Fake invoices are unfortunately a well known problem among trademark owners. A fake invoice is a misleading invoice (or letter) which reffers to a trademark, design, patent or patent application. A payment is requested for a publication in a register or to extend the validity of a registration.They use names like Worldwide database or Trademarks and Patents, Euro IP Register, International Patent & Trademark Database.


More information and examples of fake invoices


Our advice: don't pay. Please contact us is you have any doubts.

NLO Shieldmark wins Award ‘Benelux - Firm of the Year for Trade Mark Prosecution’

NLO Shieldmark is proud to have been voted ‘Benelux - Firm of the Year for Trade Mark Prosecution’ by the highly respected Managing IP magazine. The award was presented on Thursday 10 March 2016 in London.


We wish to thank our clients and fellow professionals for their positive feedback and for believing in our quality and service.