10 de December de 2021 // Tiago Andrade

Industrial Property – designs

Tempo de Leitura //

Industrial property is part of a wider set of laws known as intellectual property, which broadly refers to creations of the human mind. Intellectual property rights are thus intended to protect the interests of innovators and creators, giving them rights in their creations. In this context, industrial property is the area of intellectual property that refers to exclusive rights which allow their owner to protect the investment in the development of a certain product, commercial designation or design.

In fact, industrial property can take a variety of forms, the main ones being patents, trademarks and designs, the latter of which are the focus of this article. One of the basic aims of design protection is to stimulate the design element of production. A design can be protected if it has both novelty and individual character, i.e. if it differs significantly from other existing designs or combinations thereof.

In this context, designs are intended to protect aesthetic creations concerning the appearance of products, particularly with regard to ornamental character, compositions of lines, colours or any three-dimensional forms that provide a special appearance. In fact, aesthetic character is one of the main factors that influence consumers in the choice of a product, meaning that in legal terms a design is a right granted in a territory, under a registration system, to protect the original, ornamental and non-functional features of a product resulting from the creative activity of design.

In other words, the legal protection afforded by designs only refers to the design that is applied or incorporated in a product. This protection does not prevent other manufacturers from producing or negotiating similar products, provided that they do not incorporate or reproduce the protected design. A design registration thus protects against the unauthorised use of the design in products, granting to its owner the exclusive right to manufacture, import, sell, rent or offer for sale products in which the protected design is applied or incorporated. The period of validity of a design right can vary between 10 and 25 years, depending on the country or region where it is registered, against payment of periodic maintenance fees. In Portugal, the term of a design is 25 years, subject to the payment of quinquennial maintenance fees. The same applies to Community designs.

The opinions and views expressed on this Digital Platform are solely those of their authors. These opinions and views do not necessarily represent those of Pereira da Cruz e Associados – Sociedade de Advogados, R.L. or J. Pereira da Cruz, S.A., and their staff or any contributors to this Digital Platform.
They also do not consist of legal or technical advice, so we advise you to contact a lawyer and / or official industrial property agent if you have any questions or concerns regarding these matters.