Registered designs in Israel safeguard a product’s appearance, necessitating novelty and individual character, and offer a potential 25-year protection, providing advantages in protecting a product’s unique visual features.
A registered design is a form of intellectual property for protecting the appearance of a product. Once a design is validly registered it can generally be used to prevent anyone else using the design without permission from the design owner.
Registering a design requires that the appearance of a product, or part thereof, be novel and have individual character. The appearance of a product is normally defined by one or more visual features of the product or part of the product, such as, outline, color, shape, decoration, texture, or material from which it is made, as the case may be.
Products may be physical articles or digital articles such as, such as, e.g icons and graphical user interfaces (GUIs) including animated GUIs, sets of articles, etc., but not including typefaces or computer programs. Designs dictated solely by the function of the product for which protection is sought, are not eligible for protection.
The Israel Design Ordinance calls for absolute novelty. This means that the design must be different from any other design publicly disclosed anywhere in the world, prior to the effective filing date of the Israeli application.
A grace period of 12 months is allowed for a prior disclosure of the design originating from the applicant not to be considered as novelty-destroying.
Individual character of a design is determined based on the overall impression it creates for the informed user relative to other designs made public prior to the effective filing date.
Applying for Design Protection in Israel
To have a design registered in Israel, a corresponding design application can be filed at the Israel Patent Office or Israel should be designated in an International Design Application filed at WIPO under the Hague Agreement
Contents of Design Application
the name and particulars of the owner of the design;
the indication of the first publication date of the design if prior to the effective filing date or of the absence of such publication;
the class of the design according to the Israeli Designs Classification;
representations (see below);
priority particulars, if claimed; and
a notation of how the applicant came to be the owner of the design (e.g. by virtue of law or assignment).
Most important part of a design application is representations of the design of a product or a part thereof, to which it is directed. The representations should be of high quality, their number should be sufficient to show the entire design from different views, and they can be in one of the following forms: line drawings, computer generated images, or photographs.
The representations of a design have great importance, since they determine the scope of protection. Consequently, the contents of the representations should be considered properly prior to their preparation, to suit the scope of protection to the applicant’s business interests. For example, the representations can be planned to protect only the most important part of the product and disclaim its remainder. Disclaiming parts of a design for which protection is not sought, can be done by using dashed lines, blurring, coloring, or lightening.
Deferment of Publication
Publication of a design application can be deferred, if requested at the time of filing, for up to 6 months from the filing date. Otherwise, the design application as filed is published shortly after its filing on the Patent Office website.
Formal and Substantive Examination
Design applications undergo formal examination upon their filing, and substantive examination, which normally commences in about 8 months from the filing date. The examination must be completed within 12 months from the date of a first substantive examination report.
Term of Registered Design
Registered Design is initially in force for a period of five years from the filing date of the application in Israel and can be renewed four times in terms of five years, up to a total of 25 years.
Unregistered design protection comes into effect automatically for a period of three years from the date of disclosure in or outside Israel, provided that the design is new and of individual character, and that it was offered for sale or distributed to the public in Israel in a commercial manner, including online, by the design owner or on its behalf, within 6 months of its disclosure date to the public.
It is important to note that there is a significant distinction in the scope of protection and the criteria for infringement between registered and unregistered designs.
The content provided by:
Ena Pugatsch, Partner and Helena Kushmaro, Designs Operations Manager Technology, Mechanics & Designs Practice Reinhold Cohn Group