An Industrial Design is an exclusive industrial property right, which provides the owner to profit in an exclusive and limited way, during 25 years, after the grant of the right, following an administrative procedure staffed by the Oficina Española de Patentes y Marcas (Spanish Patent and Trademark Office «SPTO»), the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, and in particular the lines, contours, colours, shape, and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation.
In other words, it protects the external appearance of the product, provided that it has novelty and individual character.
An industrial design can be composed of:
- Three-dimensional shapes, including the shape of the product.
- Two-dimensional shapes, including the ornamentation, contours, lines or colours of the product.
- Any combination of the signs which are above-mentioned.
To obtain the right, the applicant in Spain must submit the application before the SPTO.
Anyway, an unregistered design enjoys provisional protection during 12 months running from the first placing on the market of products incorporating the design.
- How to protect an industrial design?
The areas of protection are in keeping with a triple typology of industrial design:
- National Industrial Design
If the company’s activity is developed only in Spain, it will be sufficient with a national industrial design.
The application is filed before Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, sited in Paseo de la Castellana, 75, in Madrid or using the electronic gateway.
The administrative procedure to grant the industrial design right is provided in the Spanish Industrial Design Law (Law 20/2003).
- Community Design
For that companies who are interested in have its design in several community countries, may be willing to protect their designs through a community design, following an administrative procedure staffed by the Office of Harmonization of the Internal Market (OHIM).
The distinctive feature of the community desing lies on the fact that the procedure allows the owner of a design grant the protection of a community design, in the 28 community countries of the European Union.
- International Design
If the company consider that their activity will develop internationally beyond the border of the European Union, has two options to protect their products and services:
a) File a design application with the design office of each country in which you are seeking protection (see above national design), or...
b) You can use the Hague system to file an international design if the selected countries have signed the international agreement.
The international design allows the extension of a national design in the selected countries, if they have signed the Hague Agreement and the Protocol of the Hague Act. Both are international agreements staffed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for the international registration of Industrial Designs.
The distinctive feature of the international design lies on the fact that the procedure allows the owner of a design extends the protection of a national design, in several countries, using a single procedure.
The design office of each country (in Spain, the Oficina Española de Patentes y Marcas), will send the application for the registration of an International design in several countries to the WIPO, with headquarters in Geneva. Later, the WIPO will send the application to the design office in the countries selected, moment wherein the application is divided in a bundle of national applications following a single procedure in that country.