Design patents are designs and models with an aesthetic appeal. Whereas technical functionality is the decisive criterion with patents or utility models, the product’s optical configuration is the key to a design patent. Design patents may be granted for clothing designs, wallpaper patterns, lamps, e.g. the Wagenfeld lamp, cutlery, jewellery, vases, but also for the design of motorcars or cell phones. The person holding a design patent can object to his or her design being plagiarized (counterfeit merchandise) and imitated by unauthorized third parties. As a matter of principle, German design patent rights do not come about until their registration and are effective for a maximum of 25 years. There has been a particularity in Europe since April 2003: a design is protected as a European design patent for three years from the date of its first public presentation, although it may not be officially registered. However, such a non-registered design patent will only protect against 1-to-1 copies, but not against (similar) imitations. But there is of course also the chance to have a European design patent registered. The protection thereunder also includes protection against imitations and is valid for 25 years.


As with all other property rights, we support you with the application for your design patent, with the preceding research, the drafting, the negotiation and the conclusion of license agreements as well as with the protection against plagiarism and imitations.