Examination and Registration

Computer keyboard with green "Register" key

What is examined by the Design Unit?

The most important links concerning the design application

The DPMA first checks whether all indications and documents required for the application have been received. The details of the applicant, the representation of the design and the indication of products must be submitted. It is examined whether the application complies with the legal requirements, above all, whether the representation meets the requirements as to form. Furthermore, the Design Unit checks whether the design applied for actually constitutes a design, that means, whether it shows the concrete colours, pattern and shape of a product. General ideas, concepts or designing principles cannot be protected. The design must comply with public policy and accepted principles of morality and must not constitute an improper use of any State emblems and other signs of public interest.

Please note: The DPMA does not examine whether the design applied for fulfils the requirements for protection of novelty and individual character. These requirements for protection will only be examined in case of proceedings before a civil court or during invalidity proceedings before the Design Division at the DPMA.

Registration and publication

If the application meets the legal requirements, the design is recorded in the register kept by the DPMA. The registration is then published in the electronic DPMAregister service and published in the Design Gazette (Designblatt).

Deferring publication of the representation

You can file a request for “deferment of publication” of the representation. This may be useful if you wish to wait and see whether your product is accepted in the market or if you wish to keep the design secret for the present. If publication is deferred, protection is initially limited to 30 months from the filing date or priority date, as the case may be. During that period, you may decide if you wish to extend protection to five years. To extend protection you must only pay the extension fee within the deferment period of 30 months. In the case of deferment of publication, only the bibliographic data are published in the register, such as the file number, the date of filing and the applicant. If you extend the term of protection to five years, the representation of the design and further data are published subsequently.

Please note: During the deferment period, the design is only protected against copying. That means, you can only take action against designs that were produced despite having knowledge of your registered design. In the case of infringement of your design, you have to demonstrate and prove that the design challenged by you is a copy of your registered design. In that case, independent parallel creations cannot be challenged.

Term of protection

Protection initially lasts five years, 30 months in the case of deferment of publication of the representation. You can renew design protection four times until the maximum term of protection of 25 years.

Please note: You can only renew protection of your design if you pay the fee ("renewal fee") in full and in time. The fee must have been credited to the account of the DPMA within the payment period. If the payment is not received in time, your design right will lapse. The renewal fees are payable for each registered design, even if they are designs of a multiple application.


Last updated: 20 October 2020