DESIGN

HOME > IP INFORMATION > Design > Designs that are merely Functional are not Protectable

Designs that are merely Functional are not Protectable

A design that is directed to an article that is merely functional is not eligible for registration. The current law states, “a design merely consisting of a shape that is indispensable for the function of an article” is not permitted. See, Article No.5 ?. This provides a new basis for a rejection and/or invalidation.

Accordingly, if the shape of an article is necessarily determined based on its technical function, for instance, a socket portion of a fluorescent tube or an interlock portion of a drill, the shape of which is determined by the size or shape of the portion it is connected to, the application will be rejected. Of course, if alternative designs or shapes can be employed to perform the same function, a rejection based on functionality may be overcome.

Examples

(1) A design merely consisting of a shape that is indispensable for the function of an article

(2) A design that must be exactly copied due to requirements of official standards or de-facto standards