Industrial Design

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A great variety of products can be protected by registered industrial design, no matter whether the products are inexpensive or luxurious.

What is an Industrial Design?

A registered industrial design protects the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the specific features of the shape, lines, contours, ornamentation, colours, or combination thereof. Regardless of its function or way of operation, this product can be protected per-se by acquiring an industrial design registration.


An industrial design refers only to the ornamental or aesthetic aspects of a product. In other words, it refers only to the appearance of the whole or a part of a product. Although the design of a product may have technical or functional features, industrial design, as a category of intellectual property law, refers only to the aesthetic nature of a finished product, or part of it, and is distinct from any technical or functional aspects. Designs that are considered to be dictated exclusively by the technical function of a product; such technical or functional design features may be protected, depending on the facts of each case, by other IP rights like patents and/or utility models. The shape of a product or its package can also be protected by trademark registration in some jurisdictions. 


Industrial design is relevant to a wide variety of products of industry, fashion and handicrafts from technical and medical instruments to watches, jewelry, and other luxury items; from household products, toys, furniture and electrical appliances to cars and architectural structures; from textile designs to sports equipment. Industrial design is also important in relation to packaging, containers and “get–up” of products.

What are the main requirements for an Industrial Design Registration?

As a general rule, to be able to be registered, an industrial design must meet one or more of the following basic criteria, depending on the law of the country:



The industrial design must be new. It is considered to be new if identical design has not bee disclosed to the public before the filing date, or the priority date, of the application for industrial design registration.



An industrial design is considered original if it has been independently created by the designer and is not a copy or an imitation of existing designs.


Individual character

This requirement is fulfiled if the overall impression produced by the design on an informed user differs from the overall impression produced on such a user by any earlier design which has been made available to the public earlier.



The features of the industrial design that are dictated exclusively by technical functions do no receive protection .

What rights are acquired through an industrial design registration?

The subject matter of the legal protection of industrial designs is not articles or products, but rather the design which is applied to or embodied in such articles or products.


The rights acquired by registered industrial design are exclusive rights, namely the owner is granted the right to prevent unauthorized copying or imitation by third parties. This includes the right to exclude all others from making, offering, importing, exporting or selling any product in which the design is incorporated or to which it is applied. The law and practice of a relevant country or region determine the actual scope of protection of the registered design.

Where do Industrial Designs provide exclusive rights?

Industrial designs are territorial in nature, which means the design rights are granted and enforceable within the geographical boundaries of the country or region where they are registered. In other words, if you have not succeeded in registering your products’ aesthetic appearance as registered industrial design in a given country, the design of your products will not be protected in that country, enabling anybody else to commercially exploit it in that particular country.


The term of protection for a registered industrial design varies from country to country, but is usually at least 10 years (although it is often longer; for example, 14 years for design patents in the United States of America, and up to 25 years for registered industrial design in Bulgaria as well as for a Registered Community Design (RCD) of the European Union. In many countries, rights holders are required to renew their design protection after five years.

Where can industrial design protection be obtained?

Industrial design protection is territorial. This means that industrial design protection is generally limited to the country or region where you have registered your design. Hence, if you wish to have your industrial design protected in export markets you would have to make sure that protection is applied for in those specific countries.


Depending on your business needs, target markets, strategies, financial capabilities and commercial expectations, a protection of industrial designs can be acquired by 3 main ways:


  • The national route – by filing a national application for Industrial Design (ID) registration for the territory of one particular country, or as many countries as necessary, with the national industrial property (IP) offices of each country of interest. For instance, in Bulgaria by filing application for Registration of Bulgarian Industrial Design with the Bulgarian Patent Office (BPO). Additionally the design applications must be in the prescribed language and the respective filing and registration fees under the national law must also be paid. This path may be very cumbersome and expensive if the number of countries is large.


  • The regional route (RCD) –  when a number of countries are members of a regional industrial design system,  you may apply for a industrial design registration with effect in the territories of all member countries by filing an application at the relevant regional office. Such regional office is the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) where applicants can acquire protection in all countries of the European Union (EU) by filing a single application for Registration of Community Industrial Design (RCD).  




The exclusive right in an industrial design in Bulgaria shall be acquired through its registration with the Bulgarian Patent Office (BPO)

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Industrial design protection can be acquired in all member states of the European Union using a unified, quick, simple and cost-effective procedure

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The International Industrial Design registration is another convenient system allowing worldwide protection of designs by using a single procedure.

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Should you seek registration of an industrial design in Bulgaria, it is advisable to consult experienced Bulgarian Design Attorney who can advise you whether the product is eligible for design registration and who knows how to present the appearance of a product…


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Our dedicated team of qualified European Design Attorneys with substantial background in the design domain assists with the registration of designs of companies and individuals contemplating expanding their business across the European Union….


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Filing and prosecuting an International Industrial Design Registration is essential strategic approach bearing in mind the tremendous growth of international and domestic markets in the context of the dynamic economic development….


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  • You obtain the exclusive right to prevent its unauthorized copying or imitation by others. This makes business sense as it improves the competitiveness of a business
  • An industrial design adds value to a product. It makes a product attractive and appealing to customers, and may even be its unique selling point. So protecting valuable designs should be a crucial part of the business strategy of any designer or manufacturer
  • Registering a valuable design contributes to obtaining a fair return on investment made in creating and marketing the relevant product, and thereby improves your profits.
  • Industrial designs are business assets that can increase the commercial value of a company and its products. The more successful a design is, the higher is its value to the company.
  • A protected design may also be licensed (or sold) to others for a fee. By licensing it, you may be able to enter markets that you are otherwise unable to serve.
  • Registration of industrial designs encourages fair competition and honest trade practices, which, in turn, promote the production of a diverse range of aesthetically attractive products.

International Industrial Design Registration Procedure -


Qualified Bulgarian and European Design Attorney with substantial background in the field of industrial designs

We have been in the industrial design domain for over 35 years and gained considerable experience over time

Our clients say that we are objective, accurate, punctual, exhaustive and reliable.

We put great importance on the relationship between costs
and benefits for our clients.

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