Propatent - Industrial designs

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Industrial designs

An industrial design is the outward form of a product, consisting particularly in the character of lines, contours, shape, structure or the material of the product itself or its decoration. It is a visually perceivable quality of the product, not its technical or constructional essence. Graphics alone, without a connection to a particular product, do not constitute an industrial design. An industrial design can be protected if it is new and of an individual nature. It is considered new if, for at least 12 months prior to the day the application form is submitted, no identical industrial design has been published.

Validity period

The protection of an industrial design is valid for five years from the day the industrial design application form is filed. The owner of the industrial design can extend the period up to 25 years through renewal for additional five-year periods.

Necessary documents

  • Application form
  • An illustration of the industrial design that gives a clear idea of the product’s appearance (this illustration can be in the form of a photograph or a drawing).
  • Power of attorney form

Registration process

The entry of an industrial design into the register is facilitated with the industrial-design registration form that contains an illustration of the design. The IPO examines the application in order to make sure it meets the legal requirements. If the industrial design is eligible for registration, the IPO enters it into the industrial-design register and makes the design public. The applicant then becomes the design’s owner. A certificate of registration is then issued to the owner by the IPO.

The agreement to use an industrial design is granted in a license agreement which comes into effect vis-à-vis third parties at the time it is entered into the industrial-design register.

Protection abroad

National protection

When registering an industrial design in up to three countries, the best way is to register the industrial design directly in those countries through their respective offices.

Protection in supranational territorial units


The protection of an industrial design for the area of the three Benelux countries can be acquired by filing a single application at the Benelux Industrial Design Office.

European Community Industrial Design

If the owner of the design wants to have it registered in the countries of the European Union, this can be done by means of the European Community Industrial Design through the mediation of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market in Alicante, Spain.