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Registering designs correctly and enforcing protection

Dive into the world of creative rights with our digital knowledge database on design protection. Whether you're a designer, entrepreneur, or simply curious about the legal aspects of design, our articles provide valuable insights and practical advice. Learn how to protect your creative works, enforce your rights, and navigate the complex landscape of intellectual property.

Here are some of our articles to get you started:

Registered and Unregistered Designs in the EU and Germany

Registered Designs

A registered design is a legal protection for the appearance of a product that has been registered with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) or the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The protection covers the external design, including shape, patterns, colors, and materials.


  • Legal Enforcement: Registered designs offer strong protection and facilitate the enforcement of rights in cases of infringement.
  • Protection Duration: In Germany and the EU, the protection lasts up to 25 years, with the registration needing renewal every five years.
  • Exclusivity: The owner of the registered design has the exclusive right to use the design and to prohibit others from using it.

Unregistered Designs

Unregistered designs are automatically protected upon appearing on the market, without the need for formal registration. This protection applies throughout the European Union.


  • Immediate Protection: The protection begins automatically with the design's publication on the market.
  • Protection Duration: The protection for unregistered designs lasts three years from the date of first publication within the EU.
  • Flexibility: This type of protection is especially useful for products with short life cycles or in fast-paced industries such as fashion.


  • Burden of Proof: The owner must prove that the design is indeed new and original, and that the publication occurred within the EU.
  • Limited Enforceability: Unregistered designs provide less certainty in legal enforcement compared to registered designs.

Both types of protection offer valuable means to safeguard the appearance of products. While registered designs provide longer-term and more comprehensive protection, unregistered designs are a flexible and immediately available option, particularly for short-lived products.

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