Design registration in other countries

A design registration gives protection only in the country where it is registered. If you wish to register your design in other countries, you can start by filing an application in Norway or you can apply directly to the relevant countries.

Why register in other countries?

When you have decided to file an application for design registration, you should think through in which countries you need protection. It is wise to register your design in all the countries where you are thinking about using the design commercially. However, the more countries in which you apply for protection, the more expensive it becomes. 

There are several ways to apply

You can first file an application to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office for design registration in Norway. Then, within six months, you can file an application claiming priority from Norway. Priority means that your design takes precedence over later applications for the same design. 

In this way, you have your application processed in Norway and you can receive assistance in correcting any errors and deficiencies before filing applications for other countries. This gives you more time to decide in which other countries you wish to register the design. The drawback is that it may become a little more expensive, because you will have to pay national fees to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office in addition to international fees. 

Even if your application has not been fully processed at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office, you must file your application in other countries within six months if you wish to have priority from Norway. It is important that you heed the time limit of six months yourself. 

In some cases it may be simplest to apply directly in each individual country. For example, if your market is Norway, Sweden and Denmark, it may be easiest to start by filing an application in Norway, and then apply in Sweden and Denmark, claiming priority from the Norwegian application. 

If you want to register your design in many countries, you can send an application for international design registration via the Hague System. With an application of this kind you can obtain design registration in more than 91 countries and unions, including Norway. 

By filing an application for an EU design, you can obtain registration in all the member states of the EU. The EEA countries are not covered by this. Anyone who is resident in Norway or has a business in Norway can apply for an EU design. 

If you wish to apply for design registration in countries outside the EU which are not members of the Hague system, you must apply directly to each country. It may be advisable, and in most cases necessary, to use a professional representative. You can either contact an agent from the country in question, or use a Norwegian representative who has connections in that particular country or has a good knowledge of local regulations. 

Unregistered design 

If you publish your design for the first time in an EU country (for example through marketing, sales or at an exhibition), you obtain automatic protection for three years throughout the EU for what is known as an unregistered design. This only provides protection against deliberate copying. To enforce the right of an unregistered design, you must prove in a lawsuit that you have such a right to the design. If the other party can prove that they were not aware of this right, you will not be able to prevent them from exploiting the design commercially. 

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. The experts at NIPO have long experience and know what you should think about.