Design rights constitute invaluable intangible assets to EU right-holders. They cover the visual appearance of a product (colour, material, 3D shape among others), part of a product and ornamentation (2D). Designs do not protect functions (which falls under the patent regime). Unlike the EU, China does not provide protection for unregistered designs but only for registered designs. Registration of a design is therefore essential for them to enjoy full and exclusive rights to combat unauthorised use in China's landscape.
IP Key China has implemented diversified activities to address the issues in the field of design since 2017. These include questions related to bad-faith applications, the protection of graphical user interface (GUI), and unregistered design rights among others:
- Workshop on Design Rights in China (May 2019, Wuxi China)
- IP Key China´s Exhibition at the 15th China International Design Expo (2019, Wuxi China)
- Study on China´s Design Patent System (2021-2022)
IP Key China will keep working on offering a continuously actualised package of activities on the topic of designs for the benefit of EU businesses and right-holders in China, particularly SMEs.
Note: As a reminder, the Patent system in China covers Invention Patents (Patents as we know them in the EU), Utility Models and Design Patents. This package mostly covers the latter whilst Invention Patents and Utility Models are covered separately.
For further information on the project or general questions about the EU-China cooperation on designs, please reach IPKEY-CN@euipo.europa.eu.