How can I protect a design?
The term ‘design’ is used in a wide variety of contexts with different meanings. In this context, we mean – in very simple terms – the appearance of a product or a part of a product.
A design registration will give you a tangible proof of registration that can help you stop unlawful copying of the appearance of your product. A design registration will give exclusive rights to all designs which give the same overall impression as the registered design. Anyone holding the right to a design can apply to register the design with the Norwegian Industrial Property Office. Both businesses and private persons can apply.
Some conditions for a valid design registration
The party that holds the rights to a design can apply to register the design with the Norwegian Industrial Property Office. Both businesses and private individuals can apply.
The design must be new, and it must differ clearly from previously known designs. Technical solutions cannot be registered as a design, but they can be protected through a patent, subject to certain conditions. You cannot show the design publicly during the last 12 months before submitting the application to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office.
What can I register as a design?
- all types of physical objects from buildings to toothbrushes, cars, clothing,
- packaging and furniture parts of an object, such as the head of a toothbrush, the armrest of a chair or the handle on a cup screens and icons for computer
- screens animations, such as icons for computer screens which show a repeated movement
- typographical fonts
- graphical symbols and logos
- the pattern on a serviette or fabric (ornamentation)
- an interior arrangement, such as a cafe interior or display window
What is the duration of a design registration?
A design registration is valid for five years from the date on which you submit your application, and it can be renewed every five years for up to 25 years. Spare parts, which are used to repair a product in order to restore its original appearance, can only be registered for five years and cannot be renewed. Even if a design registration has expired, the product can still be protected by other legislation, such as the Copyright Act or the Marketing Act.
Before you apply for design registration
If you are not confident that your design is unique, you can check if someone has registered a similar design with the Norwegian Industrial Property Office. You can search the design register in the Norwegian Industrial Property Office's database yourself, or you can ask the Industrial Property Office to carry out a preliminary investigation to find out whether anything resembling your product exists.
How to apply for a design registration?
In order to apply for a design registration, you can use the application guide on the Norwegian Industrial Property Office's website. The application guide provides a more convenient and faster application process. You can write, submit, pay and receive your receipt, all in one operation.
Alternatively, you can submit applications for design registration is submitted online to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office via Altinn.
You must pay an application fee before your application can be processed; see the Norwegian Industrial Property Office's price list.
Appealing against other parties' designs
If you believe that the Norwegian Industrial Property Office has registered a design that is not new and/or does not have individual character, you can request that the Industrial Property Office to delete the registration concerned. If you believe that your right to use the design is stronger than that of the party that is listed as applicant or holder, you can ask for the right to be transferred to you. In such a case, you must submit a request for an administrative review to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office and document your claims.
The Norwegian Industrial Property Office will be able to tell you about the relevant conditions, appeal deadlines and procedures.
Keep up-to-date through courses from The Norwegian Industrial Property Office
The Norwegian Industrial Property Office offers various courses on how to protect your assets through patent, trademark- and design rights. Some of the courses are free, and most of them are streamed online.