Protection by design rights requires proper submission and the payment of filing and renewal fees. The filing must be followed by registration and publication.
To file an application, it may be useful to have the assistance of a specialist in intellectual property rights (an agent), although it is not compulsory.
Where and how can you file an application?
The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) allows you to file designs online.
To file a design via "My BOIP", you must have an account with the BOIP. It is easy to create an account on the BOIP website.
Your application can be filed in French, Dutch or English.
Content of the application
A Benelux design application must contain:
- the name and address of the applicant; if the applicant is a legal entity / legal person , it should also mention its legal form;
- the representation(s) of the appearance of the product.
It is important for the images to be clear, because the protection of a design is exclusively determined by the representations contained in the register and not by the product as it exists in reality. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that the characteristics of the product to be protected are clearly visible on the representations. It is possible to submit different views of the design as well as a description of the forms and lines of the product;
- a precise description of the product in which the design is or will be incorporated. This should preferably be done using terms from the alphabetical list of the international classification, as specified by the Locarno Agreement of 8 October 1968 establishing an international classification for industrial designs;
- an indication of the colour(s) of the design; where appropriate together with the corresponding colour code;
- if the application is made by an agent, their name and address;
- the signature of the applicant or their agent.
The application may also contain:
- a description, in a maximum of 150 words, of the characteristic elements of the new appearance of the product;
- the name of the real creator of the design;
- where appropriate, an indication of any right of priority claim;
- where appropriate, an application to defer the registration's publication (if this is desired).
The date of filing is that of receipt of the application file, if it contains all the necessary information. This date is important, as it determines the starting point for the term of protection of the design.
It is possible to bring the date forward using the right of priority. This right of priority allows the creator to use the date of the first filing of his design as the filing date for the other applications made in the next six months.
The creator does not always know at the outset in which countries he wants to file his design. For example, he may start with the Benelux, then file an application for a Community design and, lastly, file an international application for selected countries. Thanks to the right of priority, the Community and international applications will receive the same filing date as the first application in the Benelux. The advantage of this system is that applications filed by third parties in the meantime will be null and void.
Fees to be paid when filing a design
Fees must be paid for filing a design, for its publication and, where applicable, for the deferment of its publication.
The fees must be paid when filing the application.
The filing tax decreases in the event of a multiple application.
Registration and publication
The Benelux Office examines whether design applications comply with the formal requirements, by checking whether all the required information is included in the application (the name of the applicant, the product to which the design relates, etc.). The substance of the application is not examined, i.e. the conditions of validity of the design (for example its novelty), other than to ensure that the design is not contrary to public order or morality.
When the application file is complete, the application is listed in the Benelux designs register.
Unless the applicant requests the deferment of the publication (if he wants to keep his design secret for a while), the registered designs are published in the "Benelux designs Register".