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What is a design?

The decision of consumers to purchase is very often dependent on a product’s appearance, its design. Provided it is new, you can legally protect a design by means of an application for a design right. Holding such a right makes it possible to legally protect yourself against imitators.

A design right protects the appearance of an industrial product. What it does not protect however, is the idea or invention upon which the product is based, a product’s production method or the like. Design protection encompasses all features that are visible to the human eye such as shape, color, gloss, surface structure, ornamentation etc.

It is necessary that you inform us about which products you seek legal protection for. As a first step, please obtain information through fact sheet MU 402 about the International Classification for Industrial Designs and the classes of goods the products you seek legal protection for pertain to. Merely specifying a class does not suffice, however. You must describe your products.

Please do not confuse designs with utility models. As in the case of patents utility models protect an invention in a technical field.

Application Formal Requirements

In order to more easily fulfil formal requirements please be sure to use form MU 1e (Single Design) or MU 1s as well as MUsBB (Multiple Design) when submitting your application. Bear in mind that your application must include at least one image of the design (photographs or drawings in duplicate form). The exception to this is secret design applications.

Who may apply – Legal Representation?

Anyone may file an application, regardless of whether they are a natural or legal entity (company).

Permanent address/registered officeIs a representative required?
AustriaNo (You are, however, entitled to have a representative. If the representative you choose is not a professional representative such as a patent law firm, law firm or notary’s office, you must present a written power of attorney.)
EEA/SwitzerlandNo (an authorised recipient in Austria is sufficient)
Outside the EEA/SwitzerlandYes (patent law firm, law firm or notary’s office)

This is how you can apply:

  • Online
  • Submittal at the Austrian Patent Office’s entry point
  • Posting the application via the Austrian Patent Office’s entry box
  • By mail
  •  Per telefax +43 (0)1 534 24 535

Applications by means of E-mail are not permissible.


Subsequent to your design application said application is formally examined. Should there be any defects in this respect you will be requested – in writing – to rectify these. We must reject your application if your design contradicts the principle of public order or morality (legal examination).


Design registration in each case takes place on the 20th of the respective month. The Austrian Design Gazette publishes the registration, the registration is entered in the register and a sample certificate issued.

Duration of Protection/Contestation

The maximum duration of a design beginning with the date of application is 25 years. Expiry ensues upon failure to pay renewal fees, you renounce the protective right, or there is a declaration of nullity respecting the design. It is possible for third parties to contest the registered design (declaration of nullity application) should these be of the opinion that the design registration is not justified.

Design Infringement

Infringement of your design entitles you to sue for an injunction, removal, publication of the judgement, reasonable compensation, damages, disgorgement of profit, rendering of accounts as well as disclosure of origin of source and channels of commerce.

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