Scope and Duration of Design Right Protection
The registered design right covers all comparable designs which do not give a different overall impression to an informed user. The design right is an exclusive right to exploit the registered design, including, among others, manufacturing, use and import of the product, or storing for such purposes.
The registration of a design right is valid in Finland. The registration is valid for a period of five years from the date of filing, after which it can be renewed in four consequent five-year periods. Thus, the maximum duration of protection is 25 years. However, if the design is a component part of a complex product and used to restore the original appearance of such complex product, the maximum duration of protection is 15 years. The registration is renewed by paying the renewal fee. However, a written application is required to change any information contained in the designs register. The renewal may also otherwise be made in writing, in response to which a certificate of renewal will be issued. It is advisable to use the official form for renewal (see below for a link).
The exclusivity of a design right does not cover:
private use of the design;
use of the design for experimental purposes;
permitted prior use (that is, professional use of the design at the time of filing of the registration application, unless such use constitutes manifest abuse in respect of the holder of the registered design right);
reproduction of the design for the purposes of making citations or for teaching, provided that such acts are compatible with fair trade practice and do not unduly prejudice normal exploitation of the design. In addition, the source must always be mentioned.
As is the case with other immaterial property rights, also design rights expire with respect to products that have been placed on the market by the holder of the design right or subject to the design right holder’s consent within the European Economic Area. In other words, the holder of the design right cannot prevent, for example, distribution or import of such products.