“A design is a legal title that allows its holder to protect it’s aesthetic creation.”
The protection of designs applies to all objects that are distinguished from their similar ones by a shape, a configuration or an external effect that gives them a specific and new appearance. The appreciation of the artistic value of the object does not intervene. The distinction between two-dimensional “designs” and three-dimensional “designs” has no legal significance.
“The right on the creation is born as from the filing at the relevant Office (INPI, EUIPO, …).”
The filing confers a certain date to this creation. Its holder, whoever he may be, will also enjoy the presumption of creation. He will not have to prove either that he is the author or, failing that, that the author has assigned him this right. Only the true creator could, if necessary, reverse this presumption.
“The legal title registered at the relevant Office (INPI, EUIPO, …) allows its holder to enjoy a monopoly on his creation provided that it is new.”
The novelty extends in a relative way: a model can borrow several of its elements from the public domain and present only certain new characteristics (shape of the armrests, foot of an armchair for example…). It can even be exclusively composed of known elements, if the creator has arranged or combined them in a new way. However, this novelty can be altered by anteriority, i.e. a design with an earlier creation date that presents an identical or very similar aesthetic. The search for anteriorities is neither limited in time nor in space: one can go back indefinitely in the past (for example, a fabric pattern from the 13th century) and refer to a design created in any country of the world. The disclosure of a design destroys its novelty.
“The monopoly granted by the relevant Office (INPI, EUIPO, …) has a maximum duration of 25 years…”
The monopoly granted by the relevant Office (INPI, EUIPO, …) has a maximum duration of 25 years, renewable by periods of 5 years from the date of filing. It is also possible to concede the exploitation to a third party.
“The legal title granted by the relevant Office (INPI, EUIPO, …).”
The legal title granted by the the relevant Office (INPI, EUIPO, …) allows its holder to prohibit third parties from manufacturing or selling a product identical or similar to the protected one (counterfeit).
“Designs cannot be protected…”
Designs cannot be protected if the external shape of the product is imposed by the technical function of the object, i.e. the technical constraints of its use.
“There are different options for obtaining protection abroad…”
There are different possibilities to obtain protection abroad for one’s creation within the priority period of 6 months from the date of filing in France: national filing in foreign countries, filing at the EUIPO (European design protecting the 27 members), filing at WIPO (International design protecting one or several signatory states of the convention.)