Designs or Models

What is it?

The scope of protection under a Design or Model excludes the functional aspects of the protected product, being limited to characteristics related to its appearance.

‘’The Design or Models refers to the appearance of the totality, or of a part of a product resulting from the characteristics of its lines, outlines, colors, shape, texture or materials of the product itself and its decoration. (article 173rd of the Industrial Property Code).

Eligible for legal protection are new designs or models which have individual character, or, if not entirely new, carry out new combinations of known elements or different dispositions of already used elements, conferring individual character to the respective objects (art. 176th of the Industrial Property Code).


Pursuant to article 203rd of the Industrial Property Code, the rights conferred by the registry are:

‘’1. The registry of a design or model grants its holder the exclusive right to utilize it and forbid its utilization by third parties, without its consent.

2. The utilization referred to in the above number covers, specially, the manufacturing, offer, placing on the market, import, export or the utilization of a product in which that design or model was incorporated, or applied, as well as the storing of that product for the same purposes.’’

Request and ways of Registration

Protection for a design or model may be requested by national, community or international applications.

The National option is processed through the registry in the National Industrial Property Institute, only granting protection in the national territory.

To request this level of protection, it is necessary to lodge an application form duly filled together with the graphical displays of the design.

The Community way grants protection covering all the member states of the European community through a single registry at the European Union Intellectual Property Institute (EUIPO).

To lodge this request the same documents are required, when compared with the national one.

The International way allows for the extension of the protection of a product to 60 countries and intergovernmental organizations, through a single registry at the World Intellectual Property Organization. The international registry has the same outcome in each of the designated countries, as if the design had been registered directly at each country’s Institutes, unless protection is refused by some country’s National Institute.

Registry Maintenance

The national and community registries are valid for 5 years counting from the date of request, renewable, for equal periods, up to the limit of 25 years.

Maintenance fees are due every 5 years (quinquennium), starting from the second quinquennium.

An international design is valid for five years counting from the date of registry, being renewable for additional periods of five years until reaching the maximum period established by each state’s legislations.