1. What is a registered design?
A registered design is used to protect only the visual appearance of products, including their patterns and design shape in Hong Kong. A registered design can be applied for a multitude of products, such as mobiles, MP3 players, and jewelry design. However, it should be noted that a registered design does not protect the interior functions of the product, nor the interior parts invisible from the outlook of the product. If you wish to protect the way a design works, you may have to apply for a patent. Or, if you wish to protect the software of an electronic product, it can be protected under copyright law.
The owner of a registered design in Hong Kong is granted the right to prevent other people from importing, manufacturing, selling or even using the design product in Hong Kong.
2. What are the benefits for design registration?
1. Registering your design gives you exclusive right to your product
When your design registration application becomes successful, your registered design certificate is the best legal proof that you have the right to the design. When another exhibiter attempts to commit infringement against your product, you can use this certificate to make complaint to the Legal Adviser of the Trade Development Council fairs.
2. Your design registration allows you use “Reg”, “Design Registered”, or “Registered Design No…” to protect your product
After your design registration, you can then attached the words “Reg”, “Design Registered” , or “Registered Design No…” to your product or the packaging of your product.
3. Your design registration can help gain your potential customers’ trust
When your current or potential customers see that your design is registered, it helps gain your customers’ trust. It can be a valuable sales tool for marketing in front of potential customers.
4. The registered design is a valuable company asset
A registered design is a very valuable corporate asset during the valuation of your company’s M&A or IPO situations.
3. How long does the design registration last?
Registered design protection is renewable for periods of five years up to a maximum of 25 years.
4. Considerations before applying for a design registration in Hong Kong
1. The design must satisfy the ‘Novelty’ requirement
The design must be new in order to be successfully registered. If the design is previously registered for the same or any other article, or if the design has been published or disclosed in HKSAR, the design cannot satisfy the ‘novelty’ requirement.
2. The design must be kept confidential
The design must not be exposed nor published to the public. However, if the disclosure is in confidence by the owner, or the communication related to the design is to a government department, this will not remove the trait of ‘novelty’ of the design. The design is also allowed to be displayed at an official international exhibition without loosing its novelty.
3. The design’s spare parts
Designs for spare parts are registrable only if the parts are made and sold separately.