What is a Design?

The purpose of Design System is to protect designs (= designs of newly created products, etc.) as intellectual properties of creators and encourage creation of designs so as to contribute to the development of industries.
The subject matters of protection of Design Act are the shape, patterns or colors, or any combination thereof of an article, or a graphic image, including a part of a graphic image, which create an aesthetic impression through the eye.
Since April of 2020, images, building designs, and interior designs are added to the subject matters of protection of Design Act.

By obtaining a design right of the design of a product for which a patent or trademark right has been granted, multifaceted protection of the product can be achieved.

The term of a design right is 25 years at most from the filing date of an application for a design registration.
※ The term of a design right of which the application was filed between April 1, 2007 and March 31, 2020 is 20 years at most from the date of establishment of the registration.
※ The term of a design right of which the application was filed before March 31, 2007 is 15 years at most from the date of establishment of the registration.

Japan Patent Office Web Page "What is a Design?"

Design Application in Japan

We broadly provide overall services related to registration of designs including prior designs searches before filing an application, from filing procedures to registrations, and maintenance/management after registration.
We can assist our clients by making suitable suggestion on how to file the client’s design and by preparing for suitable drawings by clearly representing the features of the client’s designs. In case of rejection, we will fully and delicately assist you throughout the whole process to deal with the reasons of rejection until your design is registered.
For those who are seeking partial services or transfer of ongoing design matters or related to design registration, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Click to Enlarge

◎More Details

・Shapes of machine parts or the like without any notable design can be attained as design rights.
Designability is not required in examination of design registration. For example, a machine part that has a devised shape but is difficult to attain a patent right because it is not of a sophisticated technology, the machine part may be applied to attain a design right if the shape is regarded as having novelty. As long as requirements for registration such as "the shape of design to be applied is clearly expressed in the application and drawings", and "the shape is not identical or similar to publicly known designs and not easily created from the publicly known designs" are satisfied, the shape may possibly be registered through examination of Patent Office.
We analyze features of an invention related to patent application from a perspective of design, and propose an adequate design application for registration.
Patent application can be changed to design application, and we are also experienced in such procedures.

・GUI(Graphical User Interface) are subject matters of protection as design.
Since April of 2020, the subject matters of protection as GUI are expanded. Accordingly, when considering filing a patent application for software-related patent, the client could also consider filing a design of GUI shown in the software. Since we have experienced in regards to applications of numerous GUI designs from before the revision of April in 2020 to the present, please feel free to contact us.

・Applications utilizing related design system are advised.
Filing an application of a related design can expand the scope of protection of your design and consolidate the protection of the basic design.
Through consultation with our clients, we have offered opinions and advices regarding related designs while identifying the scope of similarities in the basic design.


Design Applications for Foreign Countries

We have great experience and confidence in filing design applications abroad!

We strongly support you through the application stages, through the stages of utilizing/enforcing your design rights, and through the stages of maintenance/management of the design rights. In addition, our attorneys and staff members, rich in experience in various design fields of foreign countries, can guide those who are unfamiliar with foreign matters in preparation of design applications abroad.
We have a wealth of experience and knowledge in services related to design applications filed overseas. We are experienced in filing applications based on the Paris Convention and international applications based on the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement, and propose the best way that suit the needs of our clients. There are numerous countries for which we have filed design applications, and we are fully eligible to deal with frequently-devised design systems and laws of those countries while working together with attorneys of more than 100 patent firms overseas.

We have supported our clients in attaining design worldwide not only in the main countries such as China, US, and European countries but also in Middle East, Africa, and South America. Recently, we are handling many applications using the international design registration system based on the Hague Agreement. Since the design systems vary in each country, we use our strong connection with the local attorneys in each country to get latest information and conduct thorough management. Our experienced patent attorneys and staff members working together as a team to help you attain design rights.

◎More Details
・We offer you support concerning foreign applications at the stage of filing domestic applications.
If you are to file foreign applications based on a design registration application with the Japan Patent Office, it is necessary in advance to study on the system of the target country since there are countries for which applications cannot be filed in the same manner as that of the domestic system (e.g., there is no partial design system in China, so that a partial design registration application filed in Japan cannot be directly used to apply in China). We can check the systems of the countries planned to apply for from our various experiences with foreign countries, and provide you with services all through the procedures.

© 2023 Hagiri and Associates