A design within the meaning of the design protection laws is a design of an entire product or a part thereof resulting inter alia from the characteristics of the lines, contours, colors, form and/or surface structure. Essentially, the creator of a design or their legal successor has a right to protect the design. Design protection ensures that the holder has the exclusive right to use the design and to prohibit third parties from doing so without the holder's approval.

The filed design is only examined for its legality. The application process does not examine novelty, uniqueness, whether the design is determined by its technical function, whether it violates older design rights or whether the applicant is entitled to design protection. The absence of these requirements can result in the design right being revoked.


A design is considered to be novel if no identical design has been in the public domain prior to the day of the design application being filed or before the priority date if priority is claimed. Designs are considered to be identical if their features differ only minimally.


A design is original if the overall impression engendered in an informed user differs from the overall impression created by an older design. In evaluating originality, the degree of the designer's creative freedom in developing the design is taken into account.

Period of grace

In the event of revocation proceedings, events detrimental to originality, e.g. printed publications or exhibitions, do not compromise the originality being examined if they did not occur within twelve months of the priority date and are attributable to the designer or their legal successor.