In order to be protected, a design must be new and have an individual character. The design does not have to be aesthetic.
A design is new, if no identical (or almost identical) design has previously been disclosed to the public (prior to the filing date or priority date). In other words, the external aspect of the product did not previously exist on the market. Disclosure to the public means, for example, the marketing of the product, its publication in a magazine, its advertisement or its display in a shop window.
The design has an individual character, if it does not arouse a feeling of déjà vu as a whole, compared to existing designs (that were disclosed to the public before the filing date or priority date). The design must, therefore, not be trivial compared to existing products and it must make on the user a global impression that differs from the impression that an existing design makes on this user.
Before filing a design, it is therefore recommended that you check whether there are any previous creations that could destroy the novelty or individual character of the design.
Would you like to check whether a design has already been filed? You can consult the Design databases to find out if a design has already been filed.
Please note that the disclosure of a design by its creator may also destroy its novelty or individual character. The creator must, therefore, avoid exhibiting or marketing the product that contains the designs before having filed them. However, by way of an exception, the creator may file his design as long as he does so within 12 months of the disclosure.