The international design or model allows to simultaneously obtain the design and model rights in multiple countries, provided that they have signed the 1960 Hague Agreement and/or the 1999 Geneva Agreement.
The appearance of a product considered in its entirety or in part, may be protected by filing an international design and model application, provided that it meets the registrability requirements or it is new and has individual character.
A single application suffices to apply for the registration of multiple designs (so-called multiple registration), up to a maximum of 100 models, provided that they are substantially homogeneous with each other or entered into the same class of the Locarno international classification of designs and models.
Besides registration and publication fees, the multiple application shall be subject to the payment of surcharges for each design or model subsequent to the first.
Designs and models can be registered if new and have an individual character.
In particular, a design and model is new if no identical design has been disclosed prior to the date of filing of the registration application.
Furthermore, a design or model has an individual character if it is capable of producing in the informed user a general impression different from that produced by other designs already disclosed.
Novelty is not affected:
- disclosure of the design by the author, if the latter occurs within 12 months from the date of such disclosure;
- by the disclosure which cannot reasonably be known to specialised circles in the industry in question during normal business.
WHAT CANNOT BE REGISTERED
The following cannot be registered as international designs and models:
- the characteristics of the appearance of the product which are determined solely by the technical function of the product;
- the characteristics of the appearance of the product which are not visible in normal use of the product;
- spare parts, i.e. characteristics of the appearance of the product which must necessarily be reproduced in their exact shapes and sizes in order to enable the product in which the design is incorporated or applied to be joined or connected with another product;
- designs or models, whose use would create grounds of breach of a trademark or work of ingenuity protected by copyright.
WHO CAN REGISTER AN INTERNATIONAL DESIGN OR MODEL?
The author of the design or model or the successors thereof have the right to registration. If the international design or model is the result of the work of several authors, each of the latter has the right to registration jointly.
DESIGN OR MODEL REGISTRATION PROCEDURE
The international design or model registration application may be filed before the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) based in Geneva (Switzerland), or at the Central Industrial Property Office of a Contracting State, for example before the Italian Patent and Trademarks Office (UIBM).
An international design or model can be registered in French or English.
For each filing, the WIPO publishes the international design or model in an international bulletin and sends the aforementioned international bulletin to the National administrations.
The duration of registration of an international design or model depends on the legislation of the individual Contracting States. In any event, it cannot be less than:
- 10 years from the date of filing of the international design or model in the event of renewal;
- 5 years from the date of filing of the international design or model in the event of non-renewal.
Priority may be claimed for the first prior design or model application filed in a Member State of the Paris Convention, within 6 months from the date of the aforementioned first application.