Model and design protection

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Aesthetic value is one of the most valuable and desirable in the complex scheme of conceiving and generating a product, especially in a competitive environment where one is constantly looking for new ideas.

In corporate assets, designs constitute an essential item that, if not adequately protected, makes the entire creative project vulnerable and can easily become the subject of counterfeiting and/or imitation.

Defending one’s creations involves protecting creativity: here’s why protecting design is a strategic node

Why is it important to protect design?

Design protection is one of the main levers of success in the Made in Italy world. 

If the conceived model or design constitutes an original and unique “object of industrial production,” then it needs to be secured. Consumers are increasingly attentive to novelty, but they are also increasingly demanding and look for something that represents uniqueness on the market. 

But the outward appearance is also one of the most successful reasons for a product which not only attracts public attention but also intercepts the target audience, including competitors. This is why inadequate protection and safeguarding can easily facilitate competition or the illicit counterfeit market, thus inflicting not only economic damage, but also image damage to the brand.


Often the term design, in the context of intellectual property, is used exclusively to identify products with a particular aesthetic characterization. In reality, design protection extends to any “industrial or handcrafted object.”

As stated in Art. 31 IPC = Art.3 CDR, “the appearance of the whole or a part of the product as it results, in particular from the characteristics of the lines, contours, colors, shape, surface texture, or materials of the product itself or of its ornamentation, provided that they are new and have individual character, may be the subject of registration as designs.” 

The design deposit is valid only in the countries where it is registered. Therefore, it is advisable to protect it in all countries considered to be of interest.

Filing: timing and modalities

Italian Design

It is valid for five years from the date of filing and is renewable for a maximum of five periods (therefore a maximum of 25 years). The Italian design allows with a single application to register either a single product or several products, from two to infinity (multiple application), as long as they are homogeneous.

EU Design

Protection in EU countries, from the date of filing the application, lasts up to 25 years, subject to payment of renewal fees every 5 years. It is possible to file, with a single application, more than one model or design by paying additional fees for each additional design, decreasing from that for the first model, provided that all models are homogeneous in type. 

International Design

The application for protection can be filed regardless of the existence of a previous national design. From 1 to 100 designs can be filed as long as they belong to the same international class, i.e., homogeneous products (Ex: all goldsmith products, all ceramic products, etc.).

It can be registered with filing and can confer protection in multiple states with a single application.

The total cost of the international model depends on many factors, including the number of designated states, publication in black and white or color, the number of views per design, and the number of models to be protected.

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