Justus Kreuels - 3. April 2018


The protection given by a registered design captures the outward appearance of a product, including lines, colors, contours and surfaces.

Inspired by the ascending numbers of product and design copies worldwide, the steady economic competition and the pressure of staying original, designers and product developers are encouraged to register a product design. Competitiveness is not only important on the level of economic success but also in terms of authenticity and originality of the business.

Because of the in 2002 established design regulation created by the European Union, not only registered but also non registered designs are enforceable.

Registration Requirements

In addition to the simple requirement of having to be industrially reproducible the product design is required to be characteristically novel. Regarding this, no similar pre-existing product with only insignificantly altered details is allowed to exist when a design is to be registered. The registration would become invalid. The product design has to stand out characteristically from another pre-existing product. The overall impression must be significant. Similar to trademark registration the German Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market does not recheck the characteristic novelty of design registration. A pre search of possible competing and therefore destructive design registrations is recommended.

Design Registration

The regular process after deciding on registering a design is to file the registration at the German Patent and Trademark Office or for the European registration at the HABM (German Office for Harmonization of the Internal Market). Besides the general requirements of providing full identity of the applicant, a design registration requires photographical or any graphical illustrations and representations of the product. The visualized graphical representations define the extent of the design protection. In order for the graphical representations to define the exact scope of protection for the design, up to 10 representations and illustrations of the product may be filed with the registration.

Regarding Justus Kreuels:

Justus Kreuels, German and European Patent Attorney since 2011/2012, studied mechanical engineering at the TU Munich and the RWTH Aachen. He is co-founding partner of karo IP. A main focus of his practice is the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the field of mobile communication, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, etc. in Germany.

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