A German design is a protective right which pertains to an appearance of an article or a part thereof. This protective right takes effect exclusively for the Federal Republic of Germany.
The term of protection is firstly 5 years and can be extended by further 5 years at a time, up to a maximum term of protection of 25 years.
Creations which are novel and distinctive are eligible for the registration as a design. Protection thereby covers features which can be seen in the visual representation of the application.
A design is novel if an identical design has not been disclosed at the filing date. As regards own publications, designs are granted a novelty grace period of 12 months prior to the filing date, i.e. an own prior publication of the article to be protected remains unconsidered in the assessment of protectability.
A design is distinctive if the overall impression created on the part of an informed user differs from the impression which is created by the earlier designs.
The application for the registration of a design in the Register of the patent office has to be directed to the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO).
Subsequent to the filing of the application, the German Patent and Trademark Office examines whether the formal requirements are satisfied and records the design in the Register. The recordal in the Register is published.