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industrial design

Industrial design is intended to protect the design, i.e. the appearance of the product or its part. This is the protection of an aesthetic solution (as opposed to an invention and a utility model, which protect a technical solution). An industrial design is eligible for protection if it isnew and if it has an individual character. Similarly to trademarks, there are two options to choose from regarding the design protection in the Czech Republic.

Design can be registered purely nationally, or through a Community design for the whole European Union. In the latter case, the protection covers all states of the European Union. The Community design takes substantially less time to be registered than the national designs, as the proceedings ( much like the proceedings in the case of the Czech utility designs) are governed by the registration principle – i.e. in the registration proceedings, the office does not examine, whether published designs exist, that would impede the registration.

The protection period of a design is 25 years at maximum both with the national designs and in the registered Community designs. The so-called “unregistered Community design”, which protects design solutions of the product without a registration for three years from first publishing, has a special regulation. However, it protects solely against outright plagiarism, and not against imitation (with specific modifications).

The right to industrial design belongs to its author – designer. With the “employee industrial design” the general rule is same as in copyright that the design rights are transferred to the employer. In industrial designs, there is a the most prominent overlap of industrial rights and copyright, since the designer is often the creator of an author’s work embodied in the design. From the point of view of the intellectual property and effective way of the design rights use, it is more advantageous for the client to have a registered industrial design and thus ensure duplicate legal protection for his/her work/design.

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