A design protects the external appearance of a utility product, which may result from characteristics of lines, contours, colors, shape, texture or materials from which the product is made. It may also be the ornamentation of the product.
It may be in 2D (the visual ornamentation of the product) or in 3D (the product itself).
This design shall be new and have an individual character.

An idea is not protectable as such, this is only the form given to this idea which might be protected, if it is new.

Who may be the owner?

The applicant may be:
•  an individual
•  a company
•  several individuals or companies (co-ownership)

To file either as an individual or as a company may have consequences on a tax point of view. It is important to ask yourself this question…


Various systems coexist:
•  the Benelux design: covering the Benelux countries.
•  the RCD: covering the 28 EU countries
•  the International design: which may extend to any country member of The Hague agreements (over 100 countries for the time being)
•  the National systems: only solution in some countries or when you want to limit the protection to only one country

The protection is territorial and the various existing systems are somewhat complicated. Our trademark & design attorneys may help you to make the right decision as far as filing strategy is concerned. To opt for one way instead of another one is not without consequences, one should be rightly advised.


•  it gives you the right to use or not to use the registered design
•  it prevents third parties to use a similar design
•  a registered design has a dissuasive effect
•  it may generate revenue when authorizing third parties to use it (license, assignment…)
•  it is a real asset in a company, worth to be valorized
•  it helps building and reinforcing your image

We may assist you in obtaining rights but also to enforce them afterwards. We may also write or review contracts with respect to your IP rights in order to value them.


•  by determining the novelty of the design (preliminary searches)
•  by defining the best strategy of protection
•  by filing applications and prosecute them until registration

If it is quite simple to file a Benelux design application, it is a completely different story when you wish to extend the protection to other territories. We may help you in this regard.

How much?

The costs for design procedures include the following elements:

our professional fees comprising :
 •  fixed fees for well-defined services (such as for filing a design applica-tion),
•  variable fees for intellectual work (such as responding to an official ac-tion); the amount of these fees depend on the time spent on the case and on the experience and level of specialization of the person in charge.

outlays comprising :
official fees which we pay on your behalf to the authorities,
•  foreign agent fees which we pay on your behalf in case of foreign filings, some administrative costs.

We provide you with a detailed cost estimate. Initial contact in the form of a preliminary meeting of about one hour is free of charge!


In most countries, a design registration is valid for 5 years. It may be renewed several times with a maximum of 25 years, provided renewal taxes are paid.