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Design infringement

Design infringement

You have discovered that a competitor is infringing on your design and wish to take action to prevent this. NLO Shieldmark can help you define a suitable strategy. Initially, the infringer will receive a demand letter, which could potentially lead to negotiations. If that does not result in a positive outcome, legal proceedings against design infringement will be initiated.

What constitutes design infringement?

The owner of the design right can take action against a competitor for launching a product that creates the same overall impression as the owner's registered design. The product must differ substantially from the owner's design. The designer's scope for artistic licence in creating the design is of the essence here. For instance, a designer may need to make allowance for the technical requirements of a product when designing it and may therefore have limited options when designing the shape and appearance of the product.

What is a design's scope of protection?

The scope of protection of a design is contingent on the following factors:

  • How unique is the design? In other words, to what extent does this product differ from previously registered designs?
  • Does the technical function of the product dictate its overall design? For instance, if certain product features are necessary for the technical function of the product, these features will not be protected by the design right. An exception to this rule are the technical elements of a modular system.

Timely intervention in the event of design infringement

The Benelux and EU patent authorities do not check whether design applications potentially conflict with previously registered designs. To prevent design infringement, we recommend closely monitoring the market and engaging our services at the earliest possible stage of design development.

Advice on design infringement

If you are interested in us advising you, please contact one of the NLO Shieldmark attorneys here www.nlo.eu/en/experts