Considerations on design protection

There are a number of basic considerations you and your business will need to make, perhaps with your professional consultant, to clarify which application process suits you best.

When should I register my design?

  • You want to ensure that you can easily prove that the design belongs to you
  • When your business is about to present the design for the first time, e.g. at trade fairs
  • You want to prevent others from obtaining an exclusive right to the design

Should I perform a preliminary search?
Before you apply for design protection, it may be a good idea to check whether others have already invented a similar design. You can perform smaller searches to see if your design is similar to others, before you file the application by searching in the publicly available design databases. However, you must be aware that the search you conduct yourself will be very limited.

If you want to have a more in-depth preliminary search, you can get help from the relevant national authority or from a professional consultant. You should be aware that the search does not cover unregistered community designs which are in use. These designs can, however, also prove to be a hindrance to your design.

In which countries is my design to be protected?
In connection with the registration of your design, you should think about which countries you want your design to be registered in. For example, if you are considering exporting your design to other countries, you should make sure that your design is registered in the countries in question. In this way you avoid that others copy you, and that your customers should find it difficult to distinguish between you and your competitors.

You should also investigate the possibility of getting your design registered in the country where you are manufacturing, since designs can only obtain protection in countries where they are registered. Another company can legally produce and sell your design in the countries in which the trademark is not registered, and thus also prevent you from selling your design in these countries. Others will even be able to register your design before you manage to do it yourself.

Remember the grace period
The Danish Design Act contains a so-called grace period, which allows you to publicise your design, e.g. test it in the market before you apply for it to be protected. If you then do not wish to use the design, you do not need to spend time and money on an application. However, an application for design protection must be filed no later than 12 months from the publication date of the design.

You should also be aware that not all countries operate with a grace period. If the design is to be protected in a country that does not have a grace period, the design must not have been publicized prior to an intended registration.

You can read more about the grace period here.