What are registered designs?
Designs can be registered for a wide range of products, including computers, telephones, CD-players, textiles, jewelry and watches.
Registered designs protect only the appearance of products, for example the look of a computer monitor. Registration of the design does not protect the way in which the design product works. Protection for the way in which a product works may be available under patent law. Computer software is protected under copyright law.
Registered design owners have the right to prevent others from manufacturing, importing, using, selling or hiring the design product.
Registered design protection is renewable for periods of five years up to a maximum of 25 years.
Do I need to register a design to protect it in Hong Kong?
You need to register your design to protect it in Hong Kong, China to stop unauthorized manufacture, import, use, sale or hiring of your design product in Hong Kong, China. If you intend to license someone else to manufacture, import, use, sell or offer for hire your design product in Hong Kong, you will need to register your design.
Applying for registration of a design elsewhere in the world or in other parts of China does not automatically give your design protection in Hong Kong, China.
If you do not register your design in Hong Kong, you will still have protection under copyright law for articles produced from your original design drawings. Protection under copyright law is for 15 years from first marketing of the article. But protection under copyright law has limitations. You cannot take legal action for copyright infringement where another person independently produces a similar design. But if a design is registered, a similar design will infringe, even if it was independently created. It is also generally easier to defend your right if the design is registered.
Should I publish or disclose my industrial design to public before registration?
You should not to publish or disclose your industrial design before you file your application to register your design. Once you disclose your design to the public, your design will be deemed to have lost its novelty and cannot be registered.
How long does industrial design protection last?
Industrial design rights are granted for a limited period. The duration of the protection of industrial designs varies from country to country, but it amounts at least to 10 years. In many countries, the total duration of protection is divided into successive renewable periods.
What kind of protection does an industrial design right offer?
In principle, the owner of a registered industrial design or of a design patent has the right to prevent third parties from making, selling or importing articles bearing or embodying a design which is a copy, or substantially a copy, of the protected design, when such acts are undertaken for commercial purposes.
Is the industrial design protection granted in one country valid in every country?
Industrial design rights are territorial. This means that these rights are limited to the country (or region) where protection is granted.
How can industrial design rights be obtained in other countries?
At present, no “world” or “international” industrial design right exists. In general, in order to obtain protection in other countries, an application for the registration of an industrial design or for the grant of a patent for an industrial design must be filed1. in each country where protection is sought, in accordance with the law of that country.