Understanding the process
In an economy where the aesthetic quality of a product is very often the reason for its purchase, the manufacturer has every reason to protect the aesthetic aspects of his product, with the aim of obtaining an exclusive right of exploitation and receiving the revenue generated.
To obtain national protection for the aesthetic aspects of a product, a creator must, subject to payment of the related duties, file the product’s design (two-dimensional representation) or model (three-dimensional representation) at the Intellectual Property Division, in view of its registration. To prevent potential disputes following the official publication of the registration, it is strongly advised that the application be made by the creator or, failing this, that the applicant be the owner of the copyright.
Once registered, the design or model is protected in Monaco for a period of 10 years. This period may be renewed up to four times, thereby granting its owner an exclusive right of exploitation up to fifty years.
To be protected, within the meaning of the current law, the design or model must satisfy two requirements:
- Firstly, novelty. A design or model is new when there exists no design or model, identical or almost identical, disclosed to the public prior to the date of protection granted by the registration. It is important to note that the first disclosure of a design or model to the public, at the initiative of the creator, is destructive of novelty, if the disclosure dates more than 10 years prior to the date of application.
- Secondly, its form must not be exclusively dictated by technical considerations. If this is the case, the design or model can be protected under patent law.
To be registered by the Intellectual Property Division, the design or model must not reproduce a graphical element associated with the Sovereignty or Public Authority, unless an authorisation from the competent authority is provided to the Division.
Note: the scope of protection is determined by the reproductions (representations/views) of the design or model filed for registration. Hence, to benefit from maximum protection, the design or model must be represented in its entirety, insofar as only aspects visible on the reproduction are protected. The representation of only one article from several angles may thus be necessary.