Design patents

General information

A design patent provides protection for an aesthetic creation of an object, this can be two or three dimensional.


Examples of objects which can be protected by a design patent are objects of general use such as furniture, kitchen utensils, cars, toys etc. as well as artistic creations such as jewelry, pictures, clothes, advertisements, fabric designs, watch faces, wine labels etc.


A designpatent allows its owner to prohibit third parties to offer, sell, and manufacture the object protected by the design patent.

Filing process

A designpatent may be filed for a creatively designed object which has an aestheticsingularity and which differs sufficiently from all existing designs anywhere in the world. The object may be presented by graphic representation of photos.


A designpatent may be filed for a creatively designed object which has an aesthetic singularity and which differs sufficiently from all existing designs anywhere in the world. The object may be presented by graphic representation of photos.

Scope of protection

A design patent provides protection of the overall aesthetic impression of the protected object.

Term of a design patent

In Switzerland a design object may be protected for a maximum of 20 years. Annuities are due every 5 years. 


The maximum term in other countries varies from country to country between 10 and 25 years.

Design protection combined with patent and/or trademark protection

A design patent protection can provide a meaningful addition to the IP of an enterprise if combined with patent protection for technical aspects and/or with a trademark protection.