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How to register a design

Registration is the only legal way to protect a design. In Portugal, the registration of a design must be requested to INPI - National Institute of Industrial Property, through the design modality.

Product design is the key to consumer choice. Therefore, the appearance of the product can and should be protected. The registration protects a design from being used without the owner's consent.

Fundo PME 2024 - National Design Application

To register a design, you must comply with certain requirements

Before submitting your application, make sure that:
  • the design is not registered yet
  • the design is new and unique (cannot be confused with any product, registered or unregistered, that already exists)
  • no identical design was made available to the public, in Portugal or abroad, before the date of the application.
However, a design that has already been made public can still be registered if disclosure:
  • was made by the creator himself
  • not more than 12 months before the application for registration
  • was referred to in the application for registration and proven by document proving such disclosure.

Designs which are not entirely new, but which make new combinations of already known elements or different arrangements of already used elements can be registered, giving them a unique appearance.

Cannot be registered:
  • designs dictated solely by the technical function of a product (eg in the screwdriver only the cable can be registered)
  • interconnect goods (the appearance of a product that has to reproduce in its exact shape and size to allow the connection of goods)
  • designs against the law, morality, public policy and accepted principles
  • designs that contain symbols, coats of arms, emblems or distinctions of the state, municipalities or other public or private entities, national or foreign, unless authorized
  • designs using signs of high symbolic value, including religious symbols, without consent
  • designs that violate the rights of third parties or that may encourage unfair competition.

You can register the design now

Registering on this page is about 50% cheaper than registering on paper. Use the Register design button and follow these ten steps.

  1. Identify the product and, if you wish, fill in the product description.
  2. Click "Add View (s)" and add the drawings that best illustrate each product (a maximum of seven pictures).
  3. Fill in the "Additional data" fields.
  4. Enter the data of the creators (name, address, telephone, email, TIN).
  5. If you are already registered, simply enter the Entity Code.
  6. If you have applied for registration of the same design in another country for less than 6 months, you may have priority in registering in Portugal. Simply state the date and number of the request made abroad, and the country where it was made.
  7. Enter the data of the person requesting the registration (name, address, telephone number, email and TIN).
  8. If you have already registered other designs, enter the entity code that you have been granted. If you are a company registering a design and you already have a Permanent Certificate Code, it is at this stage that you must indicate it. If you are a legal representative, you must indicate your Mandatory Code or your personal data (name, address, telephone, email and TIN).
  9. Add other documents that you consider relevant (such as power of attorney, authorisation of the representative in Portugal, civil identification document and priority document).
  10. Check the registration fees and indicate the payment method you will use.
  11. Review all the data you entered. If everything is correct, click "Finish". The data to make the payment will be sent by email.
  12. Please make the payment within the deadline that is indicated to you. We can only review your request if you make the payment.

If you prefer, you can register on paper

Follow these steps.

  1. Complete the DesMod1 form (portuguese only), as well as DesMod2 (portuguese only)  if you need more space to write or if you want to mention a public disclosure of your design in the last 12 months. Forms must be filed in by computer but can also be completed by hand in capital letters.
  2. Provide documentation proving that the applicant is a legal person, if applicable.
  3. Attach a proxy if the applicant is represented by another person (an attorney or solicitor, for example).
  4. Attach descriptions of the designs, with a maximum of 50 words for each product, if necessary.
  5. Attach the drawings that represent the designs you want to register. These images will be published in the Industrial Property Bulletin. It must be presented on A4 paper, not to exceed 8X8, not be less than 3 cm in at least one of the dimensions. They must have a good technical and professional quality and be executed in a rigorous and clear way through drawing instruments or by electronic means.
  6. Attach graphic or photographic representations of the designs, up to a maximum of 7 views per product.
You can apply for the registration on paper:
  • at INPI, in person or by post

    - If you choose to do it in person, you can proceed with payment through cash or ATM;

    - If you wish to send by mail, you can pay by check to “IGCP - Agência de Gestão da Tesouraria e da Dívida Pública” or through Postal Order to “INPI, IP”.

    INPI - Public Desk
    Campo das Cebolas
    1149-035 Lisboa
  • in one of the Business Formalities Centres
  • at the Commercial Registry of Coimbra, Lisbon and Porto counters.

If there is no opposition, the registration of a design takes about 3 months

The process of registering a design is composed of the following phases.

  1. Submission of the application. If you want the publication of the application in the Industrial Property Bulletin to be postponed for a maximum period of 30 months, you must mention that intention in the application for registration.
  2. Formal examination precedes the publication of the application in the Industrial Property Bulletin (up to 1 month after the request).
  3. If there are irregularities or objections to the application for registration and are not resolved, the refusal Apply shall be published immediately in the Industrial Property Bulletin accompanied by the reproduction of the product (1 month after the request).
  4. Time for interested parties to submit an opposition (lasts 2 months from the publication in the Industrial Property Bulletin). The applicant has 2 months to contest the oppositions submitted.
  5. After the opposition period has elapsed, an analysis is made and an order of refusal, granting or partial granting of the design registration is issued.
  6. After the issuance of the order, the applicant has up to 2 months to appeal the INPI´s decision. You can appeal to the Intellectual Property Court or to the arbitration centre ARBITRARE.
  7. If there is no opposition, a decision is taken to grant all or part of the design.

Follow the process of registering your design

Through INPI alerts, you can follow the development process of registering your design. Whenever there is a change in the registration application, INPI will notify you by email.

These alerts also serve to, after registration, closely follow the life of your design.

Design registration can be maintained for 25 years

Registration is valid for 5 years and may be renewed for another four periods of 5 years each as long as the holder pays the fees. To keep the design valid, the holder also needs to fulfil other requirements.

A registered design cannot be changed

Once registered, a design cannot be changed, nor by the owner himself. At most, it can be scaled up or down.

However, changes to the essential characteristics of a design may be registered provided that they are new and unique, and a new design is registered.

You can also protect your design abroad

The protection granted by INPI is only valid in Portugal. To ensure design protection abroad, you can choose to apply for the design registration:

Registration is not mandatory, but it is the legal way to protect your design

Registration is the best way to legally protect from misuse, marketing or improper production of a design. Anyone claiming exclusive rights to a design that has not registered can be punished with a fine.

After applying for the registration of a design, the holder may transfer his design rights through a contract or the issue of an operating license.

Complaints should always be presented to these entities. INPI cannot handle complaints or forward them.

If there is agreement between the design owner and the suspected infringer, they may choose to settle the matter at the arbitration centre ARBITRARE.

Information updated on 05 March 2024 13:51