A registered design (= design patent) can be used to obtain protection for new, aesthetic two or three-dimensional creations of color and/or shape to be used as an original for an industrial serial product.

The scope of application for registered design protection is extremely wide. It encompasses two-dimensional creations, such as patterns for fabrics and wall coverings, and three-dimensional creations such as the shape of articles of furniture, appliance housings, car bodies, etc.

A condition for registered design protection is that the design applied for must be "new" and have an "individual character" at the date of filing, meaning that it must stand out from the freely useable shapes available.

Registered designs are subject to a 12-month period of grace with regard to novelty. This means that in the assessment of "novelty" and "individual character" as conditions for protection, a prior publication of the design by the designer or his successor in title is disregarded if the application for a registered design in unchanged form is filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office not more than 12 months after first publication.

Like the utility model, a design is registered without prior examination to determine whether it meets the requirements for protection. For registration it is required to deposit at least one design at the German Patent and Trademark Office.

The maximum period of protection for a registered design is 25 years, starting on the day following the date of filing. After each period of 5 years, the period of protection can be extended for a further 5 years after payment of a maintenance fee.

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