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Before filing a design application

Before filing a design application, you should check whether your design meets the conditions for registration. The following five questions will help you determine this:

To be eligible for protection, a design must generally meet the basic conditions:

  • Novelty - A design is considered new if an identical design has not been made available to the public prior to the filing date of the application or prior to the priority date. Designs are considered identical if their features differ only insubstantially. Applicants for designs should take care to keep the design secret until a successful application has been filed. If the design has been exhibited, commercially exploited or in any way made available to the public or to specialists in the relevant field, the condition of novelty will not be satisfied, unless the design has been made available on condition of confidentiality. A design shall not be deemed to have been made available to the public if it has been made available to the public by the originator of the design, his successor in title, during the 12 months preceding the date of priority.
  • Special character - A design has a special character if the overall impression it gives to the informed user differs from the overall impression given to such user by a design which has been made available to the public before the filing date of the application or before the date of priority. In assessing the distinctive character of a design, account shall be taken of the degree of creative freedom which the originator had in developing the design. The specific character of a later design cannot be assured by the fact that it differs from an earlier design in a number of details. What gives a design a special character is the fact that the design applied for protection presents such a set of visual features which, taken as a whole, gives a different overall impression to the evaluator, who is to be the informed user, when compared with the earlier design.

The content of the concept of design is therefore only a visually perceptible feature or component of the overall design of the product. It is therefore not the technical, structural, functional, material or other essence of the product.

A design will not be registered if it is contrary to public policy or good morals or if there is an obstacle to a so-called prior right, i.e. an identical earlier registered design.

Premature disclosure of information about your design may jeopardise the novelty requirement and thus adversely affect the prosecution of your design application.

If your design must be disclosed to a third party before filing, we recommend entering into a non-disclosure agreement. A design is not considered to have been disclosed to the public if it has been disclosed to the public by the originator of the design, his successor in title within 12 months prior to the priority date, or if it has been disclosed under a condition of confidentiality.

Before filing a design application, it is advisable to spend some time searching design databases and other databases containing designs (printed matter, websites) to make sure that your design is genuinely new.

You can search freely accessible online databases, such as the Webregisters (Webregistre ÚPV SR) of the Office or international databases, medzinárodné databázy, where you can search for designs in the field yourself, or you can use the Office's search services.

You have the right to file a design application if you are:

  1. The originator of the design;
  2. The employer and the design was created by your employee in the course of his or her normal job duties; or
  3. A person who entered into a contract with the originator before the design was created so that you have a right in the design.

The preparation of a design application and the conduct of proceedings for registration of a design at the Office for Designs of the Slovak Republic is a matter requiring knowledge of the Designs Act and the relevant decree implementing the Designs Act.

Using the services of a patent attorney is not essential, but it saves your time and guarantees that the application will be prepared in the required quality, which will facilitate the proceedings. Professionalism must be reflected both in the technical level of the photograph (sharpness, preservation of drawing and texture, contrasting backgrounds) and in its overall ability to convey a message.

Applicants who do not have the necessary knowledge and experience are advised to take advantage of the possibility of being represented by a patent attorney or a lawyer in the proceedings before the Office. Proceedings on the application are conducted by the Office with the applicant or his representative. The originator of the design, unless he is also the applicant, is not a party to the proceedings.

List of patent attorneys / foreign patent attorneys (Zoznam patentových zástupcov / zahraničných patentových zástupcov. (