Design protection relates to designs and drawings (patterns and the like), i.e. the new outward appearance of a product having a utility function, such as a piece of furniture, a drinking glass, a knitting pattern or a decoration (provided on an object). Protection is obtained through the first application with the competent authority. Generally, the design should at that moment meet specific novelty requirements.
For protection in the Benelux, a Benelux application or a so-called international application (The Hague Agreement) can be opted for.
An application of a single design is a so-called single application; when an application comprises more than one design (Benelux max. 50; international max. 100), it is referred to as a multiple application.
Within 6 months of the date of the basic application (Benelux or international), (other) foreign applications can be filed while invoking the so-called convention priority. This means that the foreign protection starts on the date of the basic application. In most countries, an application should be filed within this priority period, because of the novelty requirements; after this period has ended, an application is often no longer worthwhile.
Benelux or international application?
If (at first) protection is relevant in the Benelux only, a Benelux application may be preferred to an international application, in view of the costs involved. It is also possible to file a Benelux application first and to subsequently - within the priority period - file applications in other countries (or file an international application as yet).
Benelux applications and international applications are subject to a formal examination only. No examination is conducted into any older designs conflicting with the application.
The validity period of a design registration (Benelux or international) is 5 years from the application date. We shall be pleased to further inform you about renewal (Benelux 4 x 5 years, with an option for maintaining copyright; renewal of an international design differs per country, yet at least 1 x 5 years). Hence, the maximum duration is 25 years.