Design protection

A colourful umbrella amidst grey ones

Registered designs protect the appearance of your products

Registered designs protect the appearance of industrially manufactured or manually crafted products, for example, clothes, furniture, vehicles, fabrics, decorative objects or graphical symbols. Parts of products can also be protected by a registered design, for example, the sole of a sports shoe or the cap of a writing instrument.

Through a registered design a limited monopoly is granted on the appearance of a product, that means on its shape, pattern and colours. The illustrations of the design filed together with the are essential since they determine the subject matter and scope of protection. Only those items are protected that are shown visibly in the illustrations.

Companies or private individuals can apply for registered designs. Protection arises when the design is entered in the Design Register kept at the DPMA and the registered design provides protection for the whole of the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. The term of protection of a registered design lasts up to 25 years maximum from the filing date.

Rights conferred by registered designs

The most important links concerning the design application

As the holder of a registered design you have the exclusive right to use the design. You can prohibit any third party from using your design for making, selling or importing and exporting products. That means that as the holder of the design you can take action against any design that produces on an informed user the same overall impression as the registered design.

Applying for European and international protection

Designs registered at the DPMA are only valid in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. If you wish to protect your design in the member states of the European Union or in other countries, you can apply for a Europe-wide Community design or for international registration of your design.

More information

Related links

Design Act (Designgesetz)
Design Ordinance (in German)
pdf-Datei Designs brochure

We have compiled initial information about design protection on these pages. Should you have any questions, please refer to our information leaflets or, in cases of doubt, to the Design Act. More information is available in our Designs brochure.


Last updated: 22 March 2021