Design patent is a form of legal protection granted to the ornamental design of a functional item. Design Search helps you determine whether your proposed design is new and distinctive, and therefore worth registering. Further, because of design search, you may determine if someone has registered a similar design. Thus, using that information a manufacturer can decide whether to launch a new product in a market or not. Moreover, he/she may know if they may infringe upon any granted design patent.
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Design Patent Databases
Many free databases are available. Thus, you can use them for carrying out design search. A user uses online databases and tools provided by the respective countries’ National IP Offices to search a registered design. Therefore, we have described some of such databases along with their features, below:
The EUIPO and the European National Offices represented in the European Trademark and Design Network (EUTMDN, now EUIPN) has developed Design View. Design View is available since 2012. Furthermore, it’s been growing exponentially since the time of its availability to public. This database covers most of the European IP offices. However, it’s expanded to cover some non-European countries: the USA, China, Canada, Tunisia, Turkey, the Republic of Korea, Morocco, Mexico, and Russian Federation. Design View is available free of any charges. Moreover, it covers 32 languages. It’s the most comprehensive tool available for design searches.
ASEAN Design View
ASEAN Design View is a tool similar to Design View as we’ve described above. It caters for searching for industrial design registrations from ASEAN member states. The ASEAN member state’s list includes Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Also, these countries have already added their designs in the database, and further countries are being added over time. ASEAN Design View is available and accessible to the public without any charges.
UK Intellectual Property Office Design Search Database
UK Intellectual Property Office does not provide a standalone database for design searches. However, its patent database has a specialized landing page that you may use to find design registrations. Recently, the UKIPO has made the design page separately accessible to any user. In the said database, the user can either search for design registrations using class information for that particular design. Moreover, the user can use the available/allotted number of the design registration to find a particular design patent. Also, the database is available free of any charges. UK Database is available here – UKIPO
United States Design Search Database
Similar to UK Intellectual Property Office, the USPTO also doesn’t provide any standalone database for design searches. However, inventors use the USPTO patent database to search design patents. You may use multiple strategies to execute the search operation. For instance, you may limit the search to find only design patents using US Classification System. It classifies design patent with classification codes ranging from “D01” to “D99”. Further, you may use the database to limit the search results to design patents using “USD” code. Every design patent granted number has the code at the beginning. Also, the user can directly search for a particular design patent. The user may query the database with the design patent grant number or application number if available. The USPTO Database is available here – USPTO.
Canadian Industrial Design Database
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has a dedicated database for industrial design registrations. The database is accessible from the CIPO website. Moreover, the said database is very comprehensive. Also, you can search by a number of variables: keyword, registration date, classification code or text, court order number, etc. Further, you can use the database to find information about the legal status of the registered industrial designs. It’s available in two languages, English and French. The good news is that it’s available to public free of charge. The Canadian Industrial Design Database is available here – CIPO.
Australian Industrial Design Database
IP Australia is the governing body for IP matters in Australia. It provides a database for design searches. You may use it to find design registrations in the Australian region. Moreover, users may look for registered designs using the Australian design search system with the help of the database. Further, you can also look for earlier, similar designs published in documents or on the internet. Also, the user can use the search tool to determine who owns a design including the contact information in most cases. Thus, you can retrieve licensing information easily. Australian design search includes up-to-date information on all applications and registrations from 1986. Moreover, it includes all registrations captured from 1973 to 1985 that were still active in 1985. The Australian Industrial Design Database is available here – IP Australia.
German Design Register
German Patent and Trade Mark Office doesn’t examine whether someone has registered or filed similar or identical designs. In such case, it examines a design registration only in the case of a dispute because of infringement. The civil courts or the DPMA (in invalidity proceedings) analyses the dispute. Therefore, in order to effectively defend your design rights in Germany, it becomes even more pertinent to conduct regular searches. For example, you have to search similar designs even after the registration of your design. Thus, users can use the electronic DPMA register to conduct free searches for the publication data. Moreover, you can use it to conduct the representations of the images as well as for legal (procedural) status information of registered designs. The said database is available here – German Design Register.
Russian Register of Industrial Designs
Federal Service for Intellectual Property maintains the Russian Patent Database (generally known as ‘Rospatent’). You can use it free of charge. Also, you can access it by using ‘Guest’ credentials available on the landing page. However, for accessing full-text of some patents, in some cases, there might be some charges that you have to pay. In accordance to the statistics, inventors have registered 28,312 industrial designs in Russia as of December, 2015. You may use various filters to search industrial designs. The database is available here – Rospatent.
BOIP (Benelux design database)
The Benelux Designs Register is the official publication register for drawings and designs registered in the Benelux Union. Benelux Union is a politico-economic union of three neighbouring states in Western Europe: Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. It contains information on and images of designs registered in the Benelux. However, the designs should be valid as of 1 January 2012, or someone has registered them on a later date. Users may use the register to consult information relating to renewals of registrations and changes in registrations. The said database is available here – BOIP.
J-Plat Pat (Japanese platform for IP information)
The Japan Patent Office (JPO) launched the Japan Platform for Patents (J-Plat Pat) on March 23, 2015. It’s a patent searching platform. The database offers patent information including information on designs and trademarks. Moreover, the platform provides a matrix of search options, including ‘Number search,’ ‘Classification search,’ ‘Text search,’ and ‘Classification’ based search. Further, searching by FI/F-term keywords is also possible using this platform. A specific search is possible by narrowing down the search results with 3 items: ‘Abstract,’ ‘Title of invention,’ and ‘Applicant.’ This service is actually a successor to the Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL). The JPO has discontinued IPDL. The service comes in both English and Japanese language versions. The database is available here – J-Plat Pat.
Indian Design Application Information Retrieval System
The patent office launched the Indian Design Application Information Retrieval System. You may use it to search Indian Design Applications as well as the status of the registered design applications. The database is part of IPAIRS system. Also, you may use it for searching published and granted patent applications. The database offers many search options, including searching the results by name of article, name of inventor, name of assignee, applicant country, classification codes, as well as filtering the documents by respective dates, e.g. date of filing, priority, etc. Moreover, the database is available in English language and is accessible free of any charge. It is available here – Indian Design Application Information Retrieval System.
State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO)
State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the P.R.C provides access to the Chinese published and granted design registrations. The English version of SIPO offers free search engine for Chinese patent information, patent as well as design search. You can search English abstracts of Chinese design registrations in the Patent Search and Service System available on the SIPO website. Moreover, you can retrieve bibliographic data, application information, corrections, SIPO actions, decisions and other documents on file. In addition, you may search the Chinese design registrations and access via Design View (as described earlier). The said database is available here – SIPO
WIPO Global Design Database
The WIPO launched Global Design Database back in January 2015. It offers the ability to search industrial designs registered in many countries. This database is accessible free of charge and publicly available on the WIPO website. Moreover, this database enables free, simultaneous searches of about 1,730,000 industrial designs registered around the IP offices of the world under the WIPO-administered Hague System and/or in participating national collections. This database offers searching using various methods, including filtering of results by Locarno classification. The Locarno Agreement (1968) established the classification. You may use the system to register industrial designs. The WIPO Global Design Database is available here – WIPO
WIPO Hague Express
WIPO Hague Express allows free access to publication data and the current legal status of international registrations, including applications. The Hague database hosts industrial designs from around the world. Moreover, WIPO updates Hague Express Database weekly. The database includes bibliographical data and international registrations governed exclusively by Hague Agreement. Also, the database further provides the advantage that the International registrations that have lapsed are not removed from the database. The database allows search by design number, title of the design article, names of the inventor or assignee if such information is available, relevant dates like filing date, country information, etc. This database offers searching using various methods, including filtering of results by Locarno classification. The WIPO Hague Express database is available here – WIPO Hague Express.
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