The essentials of design registration in Singapore

essentials of design registration IPHub Asia

If you have chosen a design:

Designs are meant to protect the original and unique visual characteristics of an article or of a non-physical product (anything lacking a physical form). The design can result from the shape, configuration, pattern or ornament of the product itself. Design registration protects the external appearance of the article and gives you the right to control its use. 

A very wide range of designs can be protected under various national design regulations. Design protection covers two-dimensional designs such as fabric patterns and three-dimensional designs like watches or mobile phones. 

In fact, registered designs may be a useful supplement or alternative to trademark protection where trademark protection is difficult to obtain or cannot be secured without prior extensive use. They should, thus, not be ignored!

What are the requirements for design registration?

1. Novelty

The fundamental criterion for a design to qualify for registration is its novelty. The applicant must indeed not disclose the design to any third party before the application date. The design will be regarded as new if it has not been made available to the public before the filing date of the application for registration. Also, a statement of novelty should be provided with the filing application to describe the features of the applied-for design that the applicant considers as new.

However, it is possible to claim the filing date of a prior application filed in a member country of the Paris Convention to obtain protection for the same design in Singapore within six months from the filing date of the foreign application.

2. Designs entitled to protection

In order for the application to be accepted, the design must not be contrary to public order. In addition, the design should not be one of the following:

–          Computer programmes, layout designs and integrated circuits

–          Designs applied to articles such as wall plaques, medals and medallions, works of sculpture, printed matter primarily of a literary or artistic character etc.

–          Methods or principles of construction

–          Designs that are solely functional

–          Designs that are dependent on the appearance of another article of which it is intended by the designer to form an integral part or enable the article to be connected to, or placed in, around or against, another article so that either article may perform its function.

Who can apply for design registration?

There is a presumption of ownership in favour of the designer unless otherwise stipulated in the framework of a contractual relationship. However, when the design is created, pursuant to a commission from, or employment with a third party, the commissioner or employer shall then be considered as the owner.

How long does the design registration last?

Term of protection

A registered design is protected for a period of 5 years calculated from the date of filing of the application. It is extendible twice for 5 years (subject to payment of renewal fees) bringing the maximum term of protection to 15 years.

What are the rights and benefits resulting from design registration?

Design registration grants:

o   The exclusive rights of ownership and exploitation of the design.

o   The right to prevent anyone from making, importing or selling an article to which the design or a confusingly similar design has been applied, without prior permission.

Designs could potentially offer a source of additional income since they can be assigned, mortgaged or licensed. Registration should thus be secured at the earliest possible.

At IPHub Asia, we help protect the intellectual property rights of your business. Contact us to learn more about the essentials of design registration and for any other information you may need. You can also visit our website to learn about the IP services we offer.

From her youth, Mathilde has developed a high sensibility for art and culture leading her to become the IP specialist she is today. Her aim is to offer clients a customized legal approach to protect, defend and valorise their creations internationally with a focus on Southeast Asia. She is guided by her natural curiosity and passion for people, which have led her to travel and live in multiple places across the globe. She believes that experiences provide lasting joy and is always keen on new adventures!

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