The design or model protects the appearance of a product as it seems to the eye, e.g. as defined by its lines, contours, colors, shape or form. It does not protect the functional aspects, that is those which play a purely technical function.
Among the Industrial Property titles for a design can be distinguished:
The validity requirements for a design are the novelty and the individual character .
A design is novel it is different with respect to other designs already known for official publication or prior disclosure (for example by exposure to a fair or advertising in magazines).
A design has individual character if it raises an impression different as a whole from other designs already known to the informed user. The hypothetical figure of the informed user is defined as the "person who is reasonably well informed about the state of the art in the field related to products in which the model is embedded". Doctrine and jurisprudence, to explain in a very simple and effective way this concept of individual character, spoke about "deja vu". This means that the design should be considered missing individual character each time the informed user will get a general impression of similarity or "deja vu" with respect to designs belonging to state of the art.
If the model or design does not meet these requirements, and it is null and can suffer legal action of cancellation or nullity.
The shape of the protected product does not have to be aesthetically pleasing.
A design protects for a maximum duration of 25 years, divided into five-year periods.
From the date of filing of the design, either by notification or from when it is made accessible to third parties, the applicant can prevent others from using an identical or similar model or design without his consent. The similarity extends until the design of third parties creates a different overall impression.
Moreover, when the design also has creative character and artistic value, it can also enjoy the protection conferred by law on copyright, an effect that gives the benefit of longer protection, up to 70 years after the death of the designer.