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Association of Patent and Trademark Attorneys' Intellectual Property

Certain kinds of designs may be protected by registration. These include the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colour, shape, texture or materials of the product itself or its ornamentation. A product embraces any industrial or handicraft item, including parts intended to be assembled into a complete product, packaging, get-up, graphic symbols and typographic typefaces, but does not include computer programs. In order to be registrable, the design must be new and have individual character.

Designs wholly dictated by function are not registrable, i.e. there must be some aesthetic appeal. There is no protection for features of shape which are dependent on the appearance of another article of which the first article is intended to form a part.

The registration of a design secures for the author a monopoly in respect of that design. The design must be new at the date of application for registration if a valid registration is to be obtained. Therefore, it is vital to apply for the protection before making any public disclosure of the design.

Designs may be registered in Ireland at the Irish Patents Office or throughout Europe at the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market or individually in most countries. For further information we would recommend you seek advice from a patent or trade mark attorney.


ejector seat
In 1945, James Martin
invented the ejector seat.
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