Lindahl has cutting-edge legal expertise in all matters concerning design law and will ensure that your unique design is afforded the best possible protection. We are available for help and advice when you are planning to register your design and in the event of any dispute.
In disputes that require special expertise in design law, such as protecting and representing our clients in the event of a suspected design infringement, Lindahl integrates with specialist teams in the relevant fields. Our lawyers in dispute resolution and litigation are accustomed to dealing with commercial disputes on a regular basis in all industries at both national and international level.
For any matters concerning design law issues that may arise, our lawyers are available to provide qualified advice and assessment and to devise strategies and support our clients with the management and maintenance of those strategies.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need advice in design law or other areas of intellectual property law.
What is design law?
Design law, also sometimes referred to as design patent rights, protects the appearance of a particular product. If you have designed a product, you are naturally proud of it and want to do everything possible to protect the design because you have almost certainly spent a lot of time and money developing it. A design registration protects the appearance of your product and prevents others from using the same design for up to 25 years.
Compared with copyright, the starting point for design protection arises through registration of the design. Copyright, on the other hand, arises at the moment of creation without any registration being carried out. The disadvantage of copyright is that any protection is untested until a dispute reaches court. Protection by design law may therefore be preferable because there is a presumption that protection exists at the time any dispute arises and before the dispute is examined in court.
New and distinctive appearance
There are two important criteria that must be met to enable your design to be protected. The first criterion is that your design must be new. It is therefore important not to wait to arrange protection of the design after the launch.
Another crucial criterion to enable you to maintain design protection for your product is that your design must be distinctive. That means that the appearance of the product must differ sufficiently from previously known designs.
Advantages of design protection
There are many benefits to protecting your design by means of a design registration. Besides the fact that it enables you to achieve greater profitability, it gives the creator of a product an important advantage because the creator or right holder is presumed to own a sole right to carry out commercial exploitation of the design of the product. Moreover, if you end up in a conflict because someone has used a design similar to yours, you have a greater chance of stopping the infringement.
In other words, a design registration means that, as a rights holder, you have a documented right to the design, which can also make your company more attractive to investors and put you in a better starting position in contract negotiations, e.g. regarding transfer and licensing agreements with others. A design registration can also enable you to gain a competitive advantage over others in the market and benefit from a hopefully larger market share.
Frequently asked questions
I have a design that I want to protect. How do I know whether I can register it?
First, you need to make sure that your product has a new and distinctive appearance. Your design must also not have been shown or marketed to the public for more than a limited period as specified by law.
How do I go about registering my design?
Contact Lindahl’s experts and we will help you tailor your design application. It is important for the application to be adapted according to the type of product and market.
Which countries is my design registration valid in?
If we register your design with the Swedish Patent and Registration Office, the registration is only valid in Sweden. If you want the design protection to apply throughout the EU, we can submit a design application to the European Union Intellectual Property Office, EUIPO. It is also possible to protect designs outside the EU. Contact Lindahl and we will provide you with proper guidance.
What can be design protected?
In principle, any product that can be viewed with the eye can be design protected. This applies to everything from a rear-view mirror for a car, an entire car, an item of furniture or the sole of a shoe. There are few limitations. It can also be a question of products that exist digitally. However, technical solutions or the functioning of a product cannot be design protected.
I have registered my product design. Can I be sure that no one else is using my design?
No, there are no such guarantees. When you have a registered design, it is also important for you to keep an eye out so no-one infringes your intellectual property rights. If someone uses your registered design without permission, that person or company may possibly be guilty of an infringement. Lindahl’s experts will help you if any dispute should arise.