The legal protection of designs requires proper registration as well as the payment of registration and renewal taxes. Registration must be followed by recording and publication.
To file a request, it can be useful to receive assistance from a specialist in intellectual rights, although this is not compulsory.
Where and how can I file a request?
This may be done in person, through the post or by fax
- It may also be done through the Belgian administration:
Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy
Directorate-General Market Regulation and Organisation
Office for Intellectual Property
Trademarks and Designs Division
Boulevard du Roi Albert II, 16
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel.: 02 277 52 97
Fax: 02 277 52 77
- It may also be done through the Benelux Office:
Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (OBPI)
2591 XR The Hague
Tel.: +31 (0)70 349 11 11
Fax: +31 (0)70 347 57 08
The registration should be carried out in French or Dutch.
Content of the request
Benelux registration for a design must include:
- The name and address of the depositor; if the depositor is a legal person, its structure;
- Any drawings or diagrams of the product’s appearance.
Any drawings must be clear; protection of a design is determined exclusively on the basis of registered drawings and not the real product itself. You must make sure that the product’s characteristics which require protection are clearly visible in the drawings. It is possible to submit different drawing views of the design and a description of the product's shapes and lines;
- Specific explanation of the product in which the design will be incorporated, preferably according to the terms of the alphabetised international classification list, as provided for in the Locarno Arrangement of 8 October 1968 establishing a classification for industrial designs;
- Indication of the color(s) of the design; if need be, include the corresponding color code;
- If the registration is made by an accredited agent, his name and address;
- Signature of the depositor or his accredited agent.
The request may also contain:
- A description (150 words maximum) of the characteristic elements of the product’s new appearance;
- The name of the design’s true creator;
- Where applicable, reference to any priority right claim;
- A postponement request for the publication of the registration (if such a postponement is claimed).
What is the registration date?
The registration date is the date on which the request file is received, if it contains all required information. This date is important because it determines the starting date for the design’s term of protection.
It is possible to bring forward the registration date based on the priority right effect. This priority right allows the designer to bring forward the first registration date for his design and the dates of other registrations made in the following 6 months.
Creators do not always know in which country they should file their design. For example, a designer might begin with the Benelux countries then file in Europe and finally internationally for certain chosen countries With the priority right, community and international registration dates are brought forward to the date of the first Benelux registration. The advantage of this is that any registration made by third parties during this time period will have no effect.
Taxes for registering a design
Taxes must be paid for registering, publishing and potentially postponing the publication of designs.
These taxes must be paid at the time of registration.
The registration tax declines for multiple registrations.
Registration and publication
The Benelux Office examines all design requests in a formal manner by verifying that all required information is included in the request (name of the depositor and the product to which the design refers, etc.). There is no review of the basis of the request, i.e. the conditions of validity of the design (for example novelty), except to ensure that this design is not contrary to public policy and accepted principles of morality.
When the request file is complete, the registration is listed in the Benelux design register.
Except for postponement of publication, which may be requested by the depositor (if he wishes to keep his design secret for a certain time), registered designs are published in the Benelux Compendium of Designs.