Design law

The appearance of a product or a part thereof, resulting in particular from the features of the lines, contours, colours, shape, surface struc-ture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamenta-tion, may be protected as a design.

Almost any industrial or craft item can be eligible for a design right: Products, com-posite products, parts of products, logos, icons, product packag-ing, typefaces, graphics, trade dress, ornamentation, maps, web design.

There are two criteria for protection of a de-sign: It must be new at the time of the applica-tion and it must have individual character. However, these re-quirements are not examined in the regis-tration procedure, but only in the context of possible nullity or in-fringement proceed-ings.

With the registration of the design, the owner obtains the exclusive right to use the regis-tered design or anoth-er design that does not create a different overall impression on the so-called informed user.

I advise in all areas of design law, in particular

  • Advice on the devel-opment of IP strate-gies
  • Clarifying the availabil-ity of designs by con-ducting availability searches
  • Worldwide supervision of design applications in cooperation with foreign colleagues, starting with the prep-aration of the actual application up to the enforcement of the registration vis-à-vis the competent offices.
  • Design conflict moni-toring with regard to conflicting rights and infringing acts of third parties, including the monitoring of official registers as well as through the means of border seizure
  • Enforcement and de-fence of industrial property rights; repre-sentation in legal in-fringement and cancel-lation proceedings and conducting unilateral and adversarial pro-ceedings before the German Patent and Trademark Office, the Federal Patent Court and the European Un-ion Intellectual Proper-ty Office (EUIPO).
  • Advice on contractual matters relating to industrial property rights, in particular the drafting of licence agreements, purchase agreements and distri-bution agreements
  • Administration and maintenance of prop-erty rights, in particular their renewal and pos-sible transfer;
  • Advising companies on the independent man-agement of IP portfoli-os
  • Evaluation of design rights in an expert ca-pacity from a legal, economic and financial perspective