In contrast with Patents and Utility Models protecting technical creations, i.e., inventions having an implicit functionality, Industrial Designs protect aesthetic or shape creations.
An industrial design therefore protects the appearance of all or part of a product, particularly the lines, outlines, colors, shape, texture or materials of the product itself or its ornamentation can be protected as industrial designs.
An industrial design must meet two requirements: "individual character" and "novelty". A unique character means that the general impression caused in a user must be different from that of another design. A design is novel when it has not been made public prior to the date of filing. However, any disclosures made a year prior to filing are irrelevant.
More than one design can be registered at a time (in Spain up to a maximum of 50) provided that they are designs from the same International Classification, i.e., elements with a similar use.
Registering national and Community designs is a fast and simple procedure resulting in a virtually immediate grant, and Opposition or Revocation procedures can arise after registration. A registration is valid for 25 years with renewals every 5 years.
Like almost all types of Intellectual Property, the scope of protection is as follows:
- National designs, subject to the indicated conditions in terms of prosecution, duration, etc., and with protection only for Spain.
- Community Designs and Models, having essentially the same procedures and characteristics but in the territory of the European Union.
- International Models and Designs, established through various Conventions and Agreements for a limited number of countries which in some cases may be of interest for specific cases.