Koran IP Information: Designs


Designs refer to the shape, pattern or color or a combination of these in an article inclusive of goods which produces an aesthetic impression in the sense of sight and in order to receive protection, the following requirements need to be met.

1. Merchantability

Design protection does not protect the created design, but rather protects articles to which the design is applied. The articles are defined as movable properties which are independent and definite.

2. Configuration

A design is defined as the shape, pattern, color, and the combinations. Shape is defined as the appearance of an article which occupies space, 3D outline which composes articles, pattern is defined as the chromaticity, color turbidity, and color distinction which shows the appearance of articles, and color is defined as color painted on articles to be discriminated visually.

3. Visibility

Design is limited to things which can be identified by human eyes. Design law is not applied to things which can be sensed by feeling except yesight.

4. Aesthetics

Design is applied only to things which stimulate an aesthetic sense. Due to aesthetic sense being subjective, the standard applied is whether there is a formative beauty rather than a sophisticated aesthetic sense.

Design Protection and Registration Requirements

1. Industrial Applicability

The article related to the design filed in a patent application should be reproducible and also should be the subject of intended mass production from the beginning. For example, works related to pure art are not reproducible and therefore are unregistrable.

2. Novelty

The design should not be publicly known. Identical or similar designs are rejected for lack of novelty. However, in cases where there has been public disclosure, as long as the individual who is entitled to register the design files within 6 months, the novelty requirement is not lost.

3. Creativity

Even if the design is considered to be novel, if domestically publicly known shapes, patterns, colors, or combinations thereof are used in the design, the design is unregistrable.

4. First-to-file system

When two or more applications relating to the same or similar designs are filed on different dates, the applicant filing the application at an earlier date may obtain registration of the design.

Design Protection Period

Design rights are protected for 15 years from the date of registration. However, maintenance fees are required and in cases where the maintenance fees are not paid in time, design rights will be lost.