Designs and Models
– Registered Designs Law of February 24, 2014, last amended on August 10, 2021.
– Design Regulations of January 2, 2014, last amended on August 10, 2021.
Membership in International Conventions
– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act.
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since February 13, 1966.
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since September 19, 1970.
– Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, Stockholm Act since September 27, 1975, and Geneva Act since February 13, 2010.
– Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs, since October 25, 1990.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since January 1, 1995.
– Council Regulation (EC) No. 6/2002 of December 12, 2001 on Community Designs.
Applicant: the authorized physical person or legal entity.
Foreigners and nationals not living in the country: must appoint a representative in Germany.
Types of designs: ornamental designs and models which represent an original creation from the artistic or aesthetic stand point. Only the aesthetic appearance is protected.
Novelty: not already made public in publications, in trade or in any other way, unless a publication could not be known by the given experts of the European Union. Any publication within twelve months prior to the priority date of the application, shall not be taken into consideration, if it is based on a creation by the applicant or his predecessor in title or if it is published by abuse.
Novelty grace period: twelve months but only with respect to publications by the designer.
Priorities: priority term of six months.
Series applications: up to 100 designs may be combined in one application.
Filing Office: Jena Branch Office of the German Patent and Trademark Office.
Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney (as for “patents“);
2. Photos or drawings of the design or model in triplicate for the Patent and Trademark Office and one specimen for the attorney’s file;
3. A description of the design or model (not compulsory);
4. If priority is to be claimed: indication of country and date of priority (to be filed during a term of sixteen months after the priority date), indication of file number and filing a copy of the priority application (the data can be corrected within this time period).
Electronic filing: is available.
Electronic signatures: qualified electronic signatures are accepted.
Examination: only a formal examination; no examination as to novelty.
Opposition: see “Nullification action” below.
Application kept secret: a request can be filed to postpone the publication of the design or model by thirty months from the filing date.
Registration: the German Patent and Trademark Office enters the design in the Official Register.
Publication: the registration is published by the German Patent and Trademark Office.
Beginning of protection: protection is established by registration in the Register.
Delivery of document: the certificate of registration is issued in paper format.
Duration: up to twenty-five years.
Annuities – latest term for payment – extension: any renewal fee is due on the last day of the month comprising the filing date and can be paid without a fine within two months of the due date (can be paid with a fine within six months of the due date). The renewal fees are to be paid for the second, third, fourth, and fifth five-year periods of protection.
Working: no working required.
Licenses: possible, but not registrable.
Infringement: actions for infringement based on design patents can be filed as explained for patents and trademarks.
Refusal of Protection after Registration
Nullification action: a civil court can decide the nullity of a design patent. As of 2014, a nullification action can be filed any time at the German Patent and Trademark Office. An appeal against the decision can be lodged at the Federal Patent Court.