The Value of a Design for a Company

The design of a product has always had a strategic importance for an undertaking.

In the last few years, the attractive power of the shape of a product has increased and acquired a relevant role in the success of a company.

A design protects the shape of a product, be it a lamp, a table, a car or an industrial product, regardless of its technical function. With the evolution of the digital, a design is often used to protect the graphic of a website, an icon, particular forms and a thousand different products.  

The design protection gives huge advantages in terms of image and recognizability on the market. Registering a design allows its owner to distinguish themselves on the market, preventing the competition from using similar shapes.The registered design is a useful instrument in forgery cases, since it is hard to attack and if the copy is obvious, the case will be settled fast.

Long live the Design

A registered design grants its owner the exclusive right to use the protected shape in the country, or in the countries where it has been registered for a maximum of 25 years in Italy and in Europe.

At first the design is protected for 5 years, but it can be renewed every 5 years till a maximum of 25 years. This characteristic allows the owner to abandon the registration, and not renew it, in case they no longer use that shape, a situation that may occur for some types of fast evolving designs.


Why register a Design with an Expert

The shape of or the image on a product can be registered as design.

It doesn’t matter that the shape, or image, is nice or ugly, it is just necessary that it has individual character, or that it distinguishes itself from the others by its characteristics.

The protection given by the design registration concerns only the external decorative elements, it does not include the practical and functional aspects. The design of a toaster could be registered if it presents innovative elements in its exterior aspect,      regardless of the patent that rules its functioning.

The examination of the characteristics of the product with an expert is important to identify the aspect characterizing the shape and the image and to evaluate the opportunity to add to the protection of the design also the filing of a patent that protects instead its technical characteristic.

The filing procedure of a design is only apparently simple.

Apart from the preliminary choices, it is important to select adequately the drawings to file and that represent the limit and the capacity of the protection of the design registration.

Registering a design means to use the shape or the model exclusively.Since the design is territorial, the protection granted by the registration has effect only in the countries where it has been registered. The design has a duration of 25 years but initially it is of 5 years and it has to be renewed every 5 years until the limit of the maximum duration of 25 years.

How to Register a Design

Registering a design requires the preparation of a specific application to which are attached the drawings representing it.

The drawings are fundamental and the way they are prepared can alter the level of protection.

The application has to specify the goods among which the shape or model has to be included or which have to bear it. It is recommended to use the terms listed in the Locarno Classification or in the DesignClass.

It is vital to be assisted by a Trademark Agent qualified also as a Design Agent, able to guide and advise the client as best as possible

Our Certification for your Safety

In our law firm designs are managed and filed by Trademark Agents enrolled in the Italian Industrial Property Consultants Institute and by European Trademark and Design Agents enrolled in the European Union Intellectual Property Office EUIPO. We represent our clients before the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) where we file their (Italian, European and International) design application in every country of the world.

It is important to note that it is possible to become an Italian and European agent only after a strict qualifying exam guaranteeing the skill of the professional. As an additional guarantee, our service has recently obtained the ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 Certification. All professionals and collaborators of our company work by applying strict procedures in respect of data safety and to reach the highest quality standards while performing the service.

A consolidated experience and the Turini Method

For 30 years we have been working to offer our clients the best protection.

Our job includes the examination of our client’s business strategies, the identification of the main goods and services of the countries where they work and those where they will operate. All this, in addition to the study of the target audience and of the competitors’ work, are important elements in choosing the best form of protection.

Our method is based on six principles.

  • The client is personally followed by a professional to whom they can always refer to for any need.
  • A deep examination of the commercial needs of the client and the setting of the best strategy of design protection on the basis of the current business and of the projected developments.
  • Study of the design, suggestion of novelty search to verify its enforceability and choice of the best protection in agreement with the client. 
  • Identification and choice of the counties where the design should be filed and choice according to the protection plan decided with the client. 
  • Written report to the client summarizing the strategy adopted together and waiting for the client’s final approval. Filing of the design in the chosen countries for the agreed goods.
  •  Insertion of the filed designs in the Studio Turini’s specific and exclusive management software enabling the client to be constantly updated on deadlines, registrations and condition of the design in real time.

Different types of Design to choose from

Since the design is territorial, it has to be filed in the countries where the client intends to have the exclusive on the production or the sale of that product. Furthermore, there are agreements allowing for the filing of a design for groups of counties, as the Community design.

The Italian Design

The Italian Design allows one to produce and /or sell a good having a shape or model protected by the registration in the Italian territory. This right can prevent the import or the sale on the Italian territory of products identical or creating the same general impression even if coming from abroad.

The Community Design

The Community Design permits the production and/or sale of a product having the shape or model protected by the registration in the European territory. As a consequence, if a country joins the European Union, the protection of the Community design will be extended to the entry country. Similarly, if a member exits the Union the Community design will not have effect in that country, as happened after Brexit.

The International Design

The International Design consents the filing of a single design application having effect in every country adhering to the Hague Agreement and that have been designated in the application.

In this case the design, although being filed with a single application, behaves as a set of national designs.The filing of a foreign design may be the alternative to the filing of a European or an International design, if the entrepreneur is interested in a particular territory, upon evaluation of the costs/benefits of such a choice.

Design Novelty Search

Design novelty searches are very complex and often need to be extended to databases of a different nature. The design, in fact, can be published in official databases and more easily in sector magazines.

A design is registered only if it is absolutely new. That is, there isn’t a model similar to it that has already been registered or spread anywhere in the world. Searches are therefore very thorough.

Moreover, even if there are specific databases for designs, it is often useful to support these searches with patents and trademark searches. Having to protect the shape or the image of a product, it may happen that it is described in a patent or in a trademark.

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