A design can be recorded in an international Register in accordance with the Hague Agreement (HMA). The protection then takes effect for the member states as designated in the request.
The term of protection of an international design is firstly 5 years and can then be extended by 5 years at a time for all designated states. A further extension depends on the national law.
Creations which are novel and distinctive can be registered as an international design. The 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, international 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 earlier designs.
The application has to be filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Subsequent to the application, the presence of formal requirements is examined. The WIPO does not perform an examination with a view to novelty and distinctiveness. Where appropriate, such an examination is carried out in accordance with national law. Provided that the national formal requirements are also satisfied, the design is recorded in the national Register.