The trend is clear – design protection is increasingly gaining in importance, as can be seen from the Registered Community Designs (referred to as “registered European designs” below), which already number over 700,000 as at the end of 2016. While designs were primarily used to prevent product piracy in the past, companies are now increasingly recognizing the much wider significance of design protection: this comparatively inexpensive protection right is a means of driving not only product imitations out of the market, but also variations of the product produced by competitors. This is because design law also allows the owner of the protective right to be creative when filing a design. By deliberately filing a multitude of similar design variations of a product, design right owners can anticipate variations of the product that may be produced by third parties, thus making it much more difficult to circumvent design protection. In principle, every new product design is eligible for protection, which is why it is important to consider design protection independently of sector as well as across all sectors.

Rights arising from a European design, whether registered or not, are frequently enforceable for the whole territory of the European Union with immediate effect. While a non-registered European design protects the design right owner from imitations (although only for three years as from the date on which the design was first published in the European Union), a Registered European or German design confers an unrestricted monopoly for 25 years and is generally easier to enforce in the courts.

BARDEHLE PAGENBERG’s attorneys-at-law have been at the forefront of design law for many years. They have established and continue to maintain an up-to-date collection of the emerging national and European design case law, which reflects the particular legal expertise with which we represent the interests of our clients.

BARDEHLE PAGENBERG represents and advises clients in the sectors of fashion and shoes, computers, consumer electronics, and in the furniture and sporting goods industries. We provide advice relating to issues ranging from the development and implementation of filing strategies, to expert opinions on the validity and infringement of design rights, through to cross-border enforcement of such rights.


Partnerschaft mbB

Patentanwälte Rechtsanwälte

Prinzregentenplatz 7
81675 Munich

Phone: +49 89 928 05-0
Fax: +49 89 928 05-444
Email: info(at)

Show route


Interested in our latest Design news? Here we go.

IP News on
Patent Prosecution, Trademarks, Designs, IP Reports
Brexit: Address for service in proceedings before the IP Office of the United Kingdom

In proceedings before the IP Office of the United Kingdom (UKIPO), representation by a lawyer or…

IP News on
Trademarks, Designs, IP Reports
Brexit and Trademarks and Designs

Starting with a summary of the provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement, we will present a more…

IP News on
Patent Litigation, Trademarks, Designs, IP Reports
Procedural right to equality of arms and hearing respondents in preliminary injunction proceedings – German Federal Constitutional Court, decision dated June 3, 2020, case no. 1 BvR 1246/20

With its decision dated June 3, 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) confirms and…

IP News on
Designs, Sports
Protectability of a design, the representations of which show different embodiments of a product – Federal Court of Justice, decisions of Dec. 20, 2018, docket nos. I ZB 25/18 – Sporthelm [sports helmet] and I ZB 26/18 – Sportbrille [sports glasses]

In two groundbreaking decisions that change the settled case law, the Federal Court of Justice…

IP News on
Trademarks, Designs
"Hard" Brexit? – What happens to EU trademarks and Community designs?

On March 29, 2019, the United Kingdom (UK) will leave the European Union (EU). If this should happen…

IP News on
Patent Litigation, Trademarks, Designs
Preliminary injunction proceedings in Germany: Equality of arms and hearing the respondent

The decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court relate to the involvement of the respondent in…

Expert articles

Below is a collection of concise IP knowledge, written by our Designs experts. Have a closer look at our IP brochures and articles.