A design registration protects the outward appearance and shape of a product, and gives you exclusive rights to use the design commercially in Norway. Quite often it is the design, that is to say the appearance, that makes your product stand out from other products. The design may therefore be of great value.

Read more about Is your design new?

Is your design new?

To obtain an exclusive design right, your design must be new. This means that the appearance of your registered design must be different from any design that already exists. If you want to check if a similar design is already registered or applied for, you can make a search in our design register.

Why register a design?

By registering your design you will have exclusive rights to the appearance of your product and to exploit it commercially. This gives you a unique position in the market.

For a design to be protected by the Norwegian Designs Act, the design must be registered with the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO). A design registration gives you tangible proof of your exclusive right. Should you end up in conflict, you will have a stronger case with a design registration. 

What do we mean by exclusive rights?

Registering your design is important because it enables you to document your exclusive rights, and can: 

  • increase your competitive advantage and improve the possibility of earning money from your design 
  • help you achieve a greater market share 
  • give you a sound basis for entering into sales and licensing agreements with others 
  • make your business more attractive to partners and investors 
  • help to prevent conflicts 
  • be used as evidence in a conflict 

If someone wishes to contest your right, they must disprove that you have exclusive rights to the design. The burden of proof is therefore placed on the other party. 

What can you register?

A design registration protects the outward appearance of a product. This can be physical products such as jewellery, furniture or parts of an object. It can also protect screen displays, icons and graphical symbols.

Miniature chair models in different designs

Other kinds of protection for designs

The appearance of a product can also be protected by legislation other than the Designs Act, namely the Copyright Act and the Marketing Act. In other words, you may have some protection for your product even though it is not registered under the Designs Act at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office. 

The Marketing Act does not grant exclusive rights as such, but prohibits actions that are contrary to good business practice. If you wish to use the Marketing Act  in a conflict with another party, you have to argue that they have copied your product. In addition, you must prove that the imitation has occurred in such a way that it must be considered an unreasonable exploitation of your efforts or results. In other words, the other party must have done something reprehensible.  

The Marketing Act does therefore not provide objective protection for the appearance of a product as such, but protects the efforts that have been made. 

Do you need to register your design?

There are good reasons to register a design even if it may have protection through other legislation. 

Design registration provides a tangible proof of your rights, namely a documented exclusive right that shows the date when you filed the design at NIPO. The images in the design registration define the scope of your protection. This is in contrast to copyright protection that cannot be registered and must be determined by the courts. 

A design registration is valid until someone challenges the right. If someone wants to contest your rights to the design, they must prove that you do not have an exclusive right to the design. In this way, the burden of proof is reversed. On the other hand, if you only claim copyright, you must prove that you have protection under the Copyright Act. 

The advantages of a design registration

A design registration can make it easier to get assistance from customs authorities in stopping pirate copies of your products. 

The Designs Act, the Copyright Act and the Marketing Act have different conditions for obtaining protection. For example, not all forms of design that can be registered with the NIPO, will have a threshold of originality and thereby be protected under the Copyright Act. In Norway there has traditionally been a relatively strict requirement of originality for obtaining protection under the Copyright Act in the area of arts and crafts and industrial design.

Your exclusive design right provides security for those who want to invest in your business. Protection under the Copyright Act and the Marketing Act is more uncertain, in the sense that you do not have a registered or documented right and must use the courts to determine the scope of protection. 

– Since the design is an essential part of the ASK products, it is enormously important for us to ensure that nobody can copy our outward appearance and our values. Therefore we protect our names and fonts through trademark- and design registration. Too often you see competitive businesses who don’t bother to invent gunpowder, but just copy what already sells. This is something we have wanted to prevent from day one.

Kristoffer Evang

Founder and manager at ASK farm

Man holding a rooster

Kristoffer Evang

Founder and manager at ASK farm

Read more about Start a design application

Start a design application

Go directly to our Application Guide to begin the application process. The link leads to a login page. When you are logged in, you can start filing the application.

Do you need help in the application process?

Get an overview of what opportunities you have and what you must do if you want to file an application. Design registration is an extensive process, but we can help you.