Design protection is available for the external appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and materials of the product itself or its ornamentation. A new design, an appealing appearance can substantially increase the sales of a product, it is thus important to keep competitors from copying it. Although other legal remedies also exist, the most efficient legal instrument is design protection.
Design protection for Hungary is available via registration by the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) or by the Office of Harmonisation for the Internal Market (OHIM) registering Community designs in the European Union.
We offer full range services in both Hungarian and Community design matters before the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) and before the Office of Harmonisation for the Internal Market (OHIM).
Requirements for protection
The requirements for obtaining design protection in Hungary and in the European Union are substantially the same.
A design can be protected if it is new and has an individual character. The design must be visible during normal use by the end user; hence components of a product that are only visible during maintenance, servicing or repair work cannot obtain design protection.
A design is new if no identical design has been made available to the public before the date of filing the application for registration of a design, or, if priority is claimed, the date of priority. A 12-month grace period is available if the design is disclosed to the public by the designer, his successor in title or as a consequence of an abuse in relation to the designer or his successor in title.
A design is considered to have individual character if the overall impression it produces on the informed user differs from the overall impression produced by any prior design. In assessing individual character, the degree of freedom of the designer in developing the design shall be taken into consideration.
A design will not be granted protection if it is dictated solely by the technical function of the product. Similarly, a design constituting solely of features which must necessarily be reproduced in their exact form and dimensions in order to permit the product to be mechanically connected to another product is also excluded from protection.
Scope of protection
The scope of the protection conferred by a Hungarian or Community design extends to any design which does not produce on the informed user a different overall impression. The protection is territorial, meaning that a Hungarian design is effective only in Hungary, while a Community design confers protection in all the states of the European Union.
Term of protection
Upon registration the design is protected for a period of five years calculated from the date of the filing of the application. The term of protection may be renewed for further periods of five years up to a total term of 25 years from the date of filing.
The Hungarian Intellectual Property Office carries out a search and a substantive examination in order to verify whether or not the design application meets the requirements for protection. This may result in a lengthy procedure of 2-3 years.
The OHIM on the other hand does not apply substantive examination whereby registration is generally very swift requiring less than a week.