Design right, or design protection, is intended to protect the appearance of an object and provides a temporary exclusive right to use the design. A design refers to the appearance of a product or part of it, resulting from the features of the product or its decoration, such as lines, contours, colors, shape, texture, or material.

Design right application and validity

Obtaining a design right requires registration of the design. Design right is country-specific, and its acquisition requires separate registration in each country. A prerequisite for registering a design is that it is new and individual. In Finland, the registration authority is the Finnish Patent and Registration Office.

The same product can be applied for both design right and patent and/or utility model. Design right protects the appearance of a product or part of it, while a patent and utility model protect the invention itself. Design right is valid for five years from the date of application and can be renewed four times for five years at a time, so the maximum protection period is 25 years. 

Community design

With a Community design, a product can be protected with a single application throughout the EU. Design protection arises and ceases throughout the Community and cannot be divided so that it is valid, for example, only in part of the community states.

The protection period for an unregistered Community design is three years from the date on which the design first became known in the Community. An unregistered design provides its holder with protection only against copying.

Read more about design protection on the Finnish Patent and Registration Office website.