Design shall mean the appearance of a whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of a product itself or its ornamentation.
Filing and proceeding on design applications and rights and responsibilities resulting from designs registration are governed by the Act No. 444/2002 Coll. on Designs, by the Act No. 71/1967 Coll. on administrative proceeding and by the Act No. 145/1995 Coll. on administrative fees.
What can be Protected by a Design?
A design protects the outward appearance of a product. Product shall mean any material item produced industrially or by handicraft, including wrapping, design, graphic symbols, typographic features or parts intended for assembling of a complex product with exception of computer programmes. Complex product shall mean a product consisting of several parts which can be replaced and which enable a product to be disassembled and re-assembled. An image of the appearance of the product or its part shall be the subject-matter of a protection. The scope of protection shall be determined by the image of the design as it is entered into the Register. Registered design shall not protect technical, constructional, functional, material or other entity of the product, though this would be obvious in the certain performance or even generalised.
Design shall be eligible for the protection if it is new and has individual character. Design shall be considered new if no identical design has been made available to the public before the date of priority. Design has a specific character if general impression raised for informed user differs from general impression raised for such user by any design which has been made available to public before priority date.
What should be a Content of a Design Application?
An application of a design shall contain the request for entry into the Register on the official application form. Application of a design shall be filed by post or personally with the Industrial Property Office of the Slovak Republic, Švermova 43, 97404 Banská Bystrica (hereinafter referred to as "Office"). Design application is being filed when it meets all formal requirements like information on applicant, indication of his will to register this application and image of the design giving clear idea of appearance of the product or its part, in the quality enabling further reproduction.
Application may be filed as a simple application, i.e. entry into the Register is required for one design; or as a collective application, i.e. two or more designs are required to be registered under the condition that these designs all belong to one class of the international classification of designs. Application of design may be filed by an author or his/her legal successor. An author is a natural person who created the design by his/her own creative activity. If an author created a design within the framework of fulfilling tasks from an employment relationship or similar relationship, right to design shall pass to an employer until parties of this relationship agreed otherwise. Designer who created a design as an employee shall be obliged to inform the employer immediately and at the same time he/she shall submit the image of the design.
If an employer fails to exercise the right to design within the time limit of 3 months, this right shall pass back to a designer. Right of being an author shall remain unaffected. Priority right for an applicant shall be established on filing date of an application or on priority date pursuant to an international convention.
Proceedings on Design Application
Design application is a subject of an examination. Within examination the Office shall ascertain whether application meets requirements of the Act. If a subject-matter of an application meets conditions pursuant to the Act, the Office shall enter the design into the Register and the applicant shall become the registered design owner. The Office shall issue the certificate on the entry of a design into the Register to the owner, design shall be published and the entry shall be announced in the Journal.
Rights Conferred by Design Registration
Registered design owner shall have an exclusive right to exploit registered design, to prevent third parties from exploitation of registered design without his consent, to provide his consent with exploitation of registered design, to assign registered design to another person or to establish a lien to registered design. The licence agreement shall grant a consent with exploitation of registered design. The licence agreement shall have legal effects vis-à-vis third parties from the day of entry in the Register. Registered design shall be valid five years from the date of filing an application. The Office shall extend registered design validity on request for registered design validity extension filed by registered design owner or one of registered design co-owners repeatedly four times for another five years up to total term of protection 25 years from the date of filing an application.
Request for registered design validity extension shall be filed by a registered design owner or one of registered design co-owners at the earliest during the last year of its validity. If the request for registered design validity extension was not filed during the last year of its validity at latest on the date which is identical with filing date of an application, the request for registered design validity extension shall be deemed not to be filed. If the request for registered design validity extension has not been filed, registered design owner or one of registered design co-owners shall be entitled to file the request within the additional time limit of six months from the date, on which the request was supposed to be filed at latest. If the request for registered design validity extension is not filed within this additional time limit, validity of the registered design shall expire to the date on which the request for the registered design validity extension was supposed at the latest to be filed.
The Office shall start proceedings on a design application with an applicant who can be represented by an authorised representative. Administrative fees are specified by the tariff of the Act No. 145/ Coll. Administrative fees shall be due with filing an application and every single act shall be paid individually.
Where to Apply for a Design Protection?
Design protection is being of a territorial character; it means that the design is valid only within the territory of the country, in which the protection has been granted. Therefore it is necessary to have a design protection in all countries, where it is expected to sell, produce or dispatch the design; i. e. where the design brings some commercial effect. According to the international agreement (Paris Convention), an application may be filed in almost every country. If it is filed within 6 months from the date of the first filing, the priority right will be established from the priority right of priority from the first filing.