Continuing the trend for relaxed requirements for design applications (see our earlier updates here and here), the Enforcement Rules of the Design Protection Act have been further eased in several aspects, as explained in more detail below.
While both 2D line drawings and 3D-rendered drawings are acceptable formats for drawings in a design application, it has always been the case that the same drawing format must be used in the original application and any subsequent amendments. In other words, if the application was filed with 2D line drawings, any later amendments also had to be 2D line drawings.
This requirement has now been removed, and applicants are free to file amendments in either format, regardless of the format of the original drawings.
While font files are commonly created and distributed using the True Type Font (TTF) format, in order to file for font design protection it was previously necessary to prepare separate drawings in a standard drawing format (e.g. TIFF or JPEG). However, design applications for fonts can now be based on TTF font files.
Designs sensitive to trends or which have a short life-cycle are subject to “partial” examination, which comprises a check of application formalities, industrial applicability and limited novelty requirements (cannot be a “widely known” design), but does not include substantive examination of novelty, creativity, etc. This enables rights owners to get their designs registered more quickly (see here for more information on examination timeframes).
Partial examination was previously only applicable for designs in Locarno classes 02, 05, and 19, but this has now been expanded to include Locarno classes 01, 03, 09 and 11, with the full updated list shown below (class descriptions taken from the WIPO Locarno Classification tool).
Class 01: Foodstuffs
Class 02: Articles of clothing and haberdashery
Class 03: Travel goods, cases, parasols and personal belongings, not elsewhere specified
Class 05: Textile piece goods, artificial and natural sheet material
Class 09: Packages and containers for the transport or handling of goods
Class 11: Articles of adornment
Class 19: Stationery and office equipment, artists’ and teaching materials
Designs in all other Locarno classes will remain subject to full, substantive examination.
Written by Sung-yeon CHO, Jonathan MASTERS