“Design” describes the shape of a product, whether it is two- or three-dimensional. To be able to protect it, the design must be new and original.
The protection of designs applies to completely new creative forms (designs), which include both two-dimensional designs (such as watch dials and bottle labels) and three-dimensional designs (such as toothbrushes, lamps or armchairs).
Protection for a maximum of 25 years
The holder of a protected design may prohibit any third party from making use of their creation for industrial or commercial purposes for a maximum period of 25 years.
Conditions to be met
To be able to be protected, a design must be:
In other words, it must differentiate itself from existing designs by major characteristics.
The creations, such as logos or three-dimensional shapes, that you use to distinguish your products or services may also be protected as trademarks. A specialized lawyer (patent or trademark advisor) can help you choose the appropriate intellectual property rights.
As the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) does not verify whether a design satisfies the criterion of novelty, you must check this yourself before registering a design; for example, by consulting specialist literature, looking at designs at trade shows or performing online searches. Where necessary, use a patent or trademark advisor to clarify the situation.
Even those not planning to register their design should ensure that realization of their designs does not entail any infringement of third-party rights on designs.
The tax on registration of a design in Switzerland is CHF 200, according to the IPI (2015 figures). Other costs may be added (Fee schedule for designs protection).