Appeal options on designs

You can file a complaint during the handling of a design application or after the design is registered.

Protest during the handling of the application

A protest against a design application must be based on one of the statements listed below, and you must be able to document your statement. 

The basis can be that: 

  • the application does not apply to a design 

  • the design is in conflict with public policy and morals 

  • the design contains a weapon or sign without permission (for example national coat of arms and flag) 

If you cannot prevent registration with a protest, you have the option of filing a claim for administrative review after the design is registered. 

You can file a protest against an application right up until the processing of the design application has been completed. If the protest is delivered after the design is registered, we will treat the protest as a request for administrative review. 

To file the protest, you can use the form Correspondence to NIPO in Altinn. 

You must state the application number for the application in question, and which design if the application contains more than one design. 

NIPO will consider the protest and decide whether or not it will affect our processing of the application. We will send a letter to the person who has submitted a protest that we have received the protest, and whether it will have an impact on the processing of the application. Information will be given at the same time about the possibility of submitting a claim for administrative review if the application is registered despite the protest. 

We will inform the applicant that a protest has been received and also send the protest itself to the applicant so that they are informed of the content of the protest. 

  • We reject the design appliaction 
  • We reject the protest and process the design application as filed 

Filing a protest is free of charge. 

Administrativ review after design registration

The administrative review procedure is a quick, simple and cheap alternative to court actions. It applies to both national and international design registrations that are valid in Norway. 

An administrative review must be based on one of the statements listed below, and you must be able to document your statement. 

  • The basis can be that the design: 
  • is not a design within the meaning of the law 
  • does not fulfil the requirement for novelty and individual character 
  • is not visible during normal use of the product 
  • contravenes public order or morals 
  • without authorisation contains a coat of arms or symbol (for example national coat of arms or state flag) 
  • clashes with a design in a previous application (which was not publicly available at the time when the new application was submitted). This is conditional on the earliest application being published later. 
  • infringes the right of another in Norway, for example to a trademark or creative work 
  • is determined solely by technical function 

If you believe that someone else has registered a design that is yours, you can claim that we transfer the right to you in whole or in part. 

You can file an administrative review in the following cases: 

  • If you believe that a registered design does not meet all the requirements for registration in the Designs Act and you want the right to be wholly or partially revoked. 

  • If you believe that someone else has registered a design that is yours, and you want the right to be transferred in whole or in part to you. 

If you consider that the NIPO has registered a design that is invalid, you may submit a claim for administrative review as long as the design registration stands. Requests for administrative review can also be submitted after the design registration has ceased, or after the registration has been waived, but then the person submitting the claim must have a "legal interest" in the case. 

If you consider that the person listed as the applicant or holder does not have a right to the design, you must submit a request for administrative review no later than one year after you became aware of the registration. If the owner of the design was in good faith when the design was registered or transferred to them, you can not complain later than three years after this. 

To file the request, you can use the form "Correspondence to NIPO" in Altinn. 

You will be able to attach documentation. 

The request must contain: 

  1. name and address of the complainant, and name and address of your attorney if you are using one 
  2. the registration number of the design, and which design or designs in the registration are the subject of the complaint (if more than one) 
  3. on what grounds the complaint is based 
  4. necessary documentation in support of the complaint 
  5. power of attorney in the use of an attorney, if the attorney is not a lawyer or trainee lawyer 

If your request does not fulfil the formal requirements, the NIPO will set a time limit for you to rectify the deficiencies. If you do not rectify the deficiencies within this time, we will reject the request. 

When the formal conditions for the complaint are met, we will send the complaint to the holder of the design registration with a time limit of one month in which to express an opinion. 

The parties will normally be given an opportunity to express an opinion twice each. The actual complaint is counted as your first statement of opinion. If you are prevented from replying within the time limit, you may ask for an extension. When we consider there to be sufficient information on the case, the case officer at the NIPO will take up the case for a decision within 1 month.

When the complaint is to be decided upon, a new and independent assessment will be made by a different case officer than the one who registered the design. 

The complaint may have the following outcomes: 

  • We declare the design completely invalid (is cancelled) or partially invalid (maintained in amended form). 

  • We reject the complaint and the design registration is maintained unchanged. 

  • We transfer the design completely or partially to a different holder. 

The NIPO will take into account all relevant documentation submitted in the complaint. 

If you request complete or partial transferance of the right due to an incorrect holder of the application/registration, you must prove that you yourself have a better right to the design than the person listed as applicant or holder. 

If you believe that the design is not novel or does not have individual character, you must prove that a design giving the same overall impression as the registered design was published before the application date. You must present good, dated documentation which is clearly linked to the appearance of the design. This may, for example, be: 

  • applications for design, trademark or patent 

  • registered designs and trademarks and granted patents 

  • pictures bearing a dated stamp from a notary or similar 

  • business agreements 

  • brochures and advertising material 

  • newspapers and magazines 

If pictures from the internet are not dated, you can, in addition, refer to a dated discussion of the product clearly showing that the product concerned was published before the application date. Dated printouts form the internet will generally not be deemed to be sufficient documentation. This is because dates on printouts can be easily manipulated or added afterwards. 

In practice, it has been found that it may be challenging to gather sufficient clear and dated evidence. To find previously published material, it may be useful to use archive services such as Wayback Machine or other similar tools. 

If you submit film as evidence, you should take stills from the film to show specifically which product you believe to be a similar or identical design. 

The fee for a request for administrative review is NOK 4 000. We send an invoice to the person who has submitted the complaint. The fee must be paid befor we process the case. 

If the NIPO rejects the request, we repay half the amount. 

We have collected some examples on decisions made by the NIPO in administrative reviews. 

How do you file a complaint?

To file a complaint, we recommend that you use the form Correspondence to NIPO in Altinn. In that way all correspondence with us will be collected in one place. 

Do you have any questions?

Please contact our Customer Service Centre if you have any questions. 

Organization Number: 971 526 157
Postal Address: Patentstyret,
Postboks 4863 Nydalen,
N-0422 Oslo
Address: Sandakerveien 64, 0484 Oslo
E-mail: post@patentstyret.no
Support Center: +47 22 38 73 00

Telephone enquiries: Monday–Friday 8am–3pm. 

We are closed on official public holidays. 

Appeal against decisions by the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO)

You can appeal against decisions by the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO) on a design application or against a request for an international design registration to take effect in Norway. The Norwegian Board of Appeal for Industrial Property Rights (KFIR) will consider the appeal. The appeal should be sent to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO), which will forward it to KFIR. You can appeal decisions by the NIPO (administrative review) and KFIR further to the courts (district court). 

  • You can file an appeal to KFIR in the following cases: 
  • The NIPO has declined to register your design because we do not consider it a design within the meaning of the law, or it is contrary to public interests. 
  • You have uncovered circumstances that suggest that a registered design ought to have been denied. 
  • The NIPO has decided an administrative review case or a case concerning administrative cancellation, where the design has been registered for a holder who does not have the right to the design. You believe the decision to be incorrect. 
  • The NIPO has decided to cancel a registration at its own discretion due to an evident error, but you do not agree with the decision. 
  • The NIPO has rejected or refused a case concerning resumption, exemption from publication, access to documents, renewal of a design registration, or a case being considered despite the time limit having been exceeded. You disagree with the refusal or rejection. 

The time limit for appeals is 2 months from the date when the NIPO's decision was sent to the parties. You must send the appeal to the NIPO. If it is clear that the appeal will be successful, the NIPO has the option of cancelling or amending its decision. If not, the appeal will be forwarded to KFIR. 

Decisions by the NIPO (administrative review) and KFIR can be appealed further to the courts (district court). 

 

If you have submitted a request for administrative review, you cannot bring legal action on invalidity or transfer while the case is being processed at the NIPO. 

Decisions made by KFIR can only be brought before the courts by an applicant or rights holder against whom a decision has been made. The general rule is that legal action must be brought within 2 months from the day when the decision was sent from KFIR. If a decision is appealed to the courts, KFIR must inform the NIPO accordingly, so that the NIPO database can be updated, and the decision must be announced in the Norwegian Design Gazette (Norsk designtidende). 

Read more about appeal options on the KFIR website
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