From 1 January 2014, designs - previously named "Geschmacksmuster" in German - will be called "eingetragenes Design" - meaning "registered design" - in Germany. The Act Modernising Designs Law and Revising Provisions for Notifications on Exhibition Protection (Gesetz zur Modernisierung des Geschmacksmusterrechts sowie zur Änderung der Regelungen über die Bekanntmachungen zum Ausstellungsschutz) of 10 October 2013 (Federal Law Gazette I 2013, no. 62, p. 3799) has also implemented other changes facilitating procedures for designs.
"With the renaming, we accommodate language developments," says Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer, President of the DPMA. "The IP right's subject matter will become easier to understand, referring to both form and appearance of a product."
Invalidity proceedings for registered designs will also be introduced. The designs unit in Jena can declare a registration invalid if a respective application has been submitted. It can be based on absolute or relative grounds for invalidity. In civil proceedings, invalidity of a registered design can only be achieved by putting forward a counterclaim before the designs courts of the Länder from 1 January 2014.
"Cancellation proceedings before the DPMA have proved to be successful instruments for trade marks and utility models," says Ms Rudloff-Schäffer. "It is therefore logical to introduce them for registered designs. We intend to achieve fast and low-cost invalidity proceedings before the DPMA."
There will be further facilitations for applications. In future, a multiple application can also include designs of different classes of goods.
The access to notifications on exhibition protection will become easier as well. They will no longer be published in the Federal Law Gazette (Bundesgesetzblatt) but in the electronic Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger).
The DPMA is the national centre of expertise in the field of IP protection in Germany. With a staff of over 2,500, it is the largest national IP office in Europe and the fifth largest national patent office in the world. The staff based at locations in Munich, Jena and Berlin grant patents, register trade marks, utility models and designs, and manage these IP rights. In addition, they provide information on IP rights to the public. For more information on the DPMA, please go to http://presse.dpma.de/english/index.html
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