Registration application for a design in Portugal

A design is the set of all the characteristics that define the appearance of all or part of a product.

They can be, for example, lines, outlines, colours, shapes, textures and materials or other particularities of the product itself and its ornamentation.

This page provides information on the following:

Submitting a design registration application

In Portugal, design registration must be requested from the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI).

The design of products is fundamental to consumer choice. Therefore, a product’s appearance can and should be protected. Registration protects a design from being used without the owner’s authorisation.

You can submit a design registration application online or in writing.

Before submitting a registration application, make sure that:

  • the design is not already registered
  • the design is new and unique (cannot be confused with any existing product, whether registered or unregistered)
  • no identical design was disclosed to the public, in Portugal or abroad, before the application date.

However, a design that has already been made public can still be registered if the disclosure:

  • was made by the creator
  • happened no more than 12 months before the registration application
  • was referenced in the registration application and verified by a document that proves that disclosure.

Industrial designs which are not entirely new but which represent novel combinations of known elements may also be registered, as well as industrial designs with a unique appearance which use different arrangements of elements which have already been used.

The following cannot be registered:

  • computer programs
  • designs dictated solely by the technical function of a product (for example, only the handle on a screwdriver may be registered)
  • product interconnections (meaning the way that two distinct products that can be protected by registration are connected) cannot be registered.
    • For example: the connection of an exhaust pipe to a motor vehicle. Although the exhaust pipe’s design can be registered, it must have specific shapes and dimensions to adapt to a motor vehicle. Thus, the part of the exhaust pipe that is not visible to the user and connects the exhaust pipe to the vehicle is not subject to legal protection
  • designs contrary to law, morals, ethical and proper practices
  • designs containing symbols, coats of arms, emblems of the Portuguese State, municipalities or other public, private, national or non-national entities, unless authorised
  • designs containing signs with a high symbolic value, namely religious symbols, unless authorised, where applicable, and except if they are used in current language or commonly used in the trade language of the products for which the industrial design is intended and arise accompanied by elements that give it a unique character
  • designs that include names, portraits or any expressions or figurations, without the express authorisation from the people portrayed and, if deceased, from their heirs or fourth-degree relatives or, even if authorisation is given, if they disrespect or discredit those people
  • designs that violate the rights of third parties or that may favour unfair competition.

You can apply for design registration online

You can submit your design registration application through the National Institute of Industrial Property’s (INPI), online services website. Submitting an online application is 50% cheaper than submitting a paper application.

After accessing the Justiç website, as indicated above, please follow these steps:

  1. Identify the product and, if you wish, fill in the product description.
  2. Click ‘Add View(s)’ and add the figures that best illustrate each product (seven figure maximum).
  3. Fill in the ‘Additional data’ fields.
  4. Enter the creators' details (name, address, telephone, email, Tax Identification Number (TIN)). If you are already registered, just enter the Entity Code.
  5. If you have already made a registration application for the same design in another country less than 6 months ago, you may have priority when registering in Portugal. Just indicate the date and number of the request made abroad, and the country where it was made.
  6. Enter the details of the person requesting registration (name, address, telephone, email and Tax Identification Number (TIN)).
    If you have already registered other designs, please indicate the assigned entity code. If you are a company registering a design and already have a Permanent Certificate Code, this is where you should indicate it. If you are a legal representative you must indicate your Legal Representative Code or your personal details (name, address, telephone, email and Tax Identification Number (TIN)).
  7. Add other documents you consider relevant (such as powers of attorney, authorisation from the representative in Portugal, civil identification document and priority document).
  8. Check the registration costs and indicate the payment method you will use.
  9. Review all the details you entered. If everything is correct, click ‘Finish’. The details needed to carry out the payment will be sent by email.
  10. Make the payment within the stated deadline. The application is only reviewed once payment is made.

Check the costs associated with the online design registration application, at the Justiç website.

You can apply for a design registration in writing

Please follow these steps to apply for a design registration in writing:

  1. Fill out the DesMod1 form, and the DesMod2, if you need more space to write or if you want to mention a public disclosure of your industrial design, which took place in the last 12 months. Forms must be filled out digitally, but can also be filled out by hand in capital letters.
  2. Provide documentation proving that the applicant is a legal person, if applicable.
  3. Attach a power of attorney if the applicant is represented by another person (a lawyer or solicitor, for example).
  4. Attach descriptions of the industrial designs, with a maximum of 50 words for each product, if you consider this necessary.
  5. Attach the pictures that represent the industrial designs you want to register. These images will be published in the Industrial Property Bulletin. It must be submitted on A4 paper, not exceeding 8X8, and not less than 3 cm in at least one of its dimensions. They must be of good technical and professional quality, and be drawn accurately and clearly using drawing instruments or by electronic means.
  6. Attach graphical or photographic representations of the industrial designs, up to a maximum of 7 views per product.

Submit the design registration application in writing:

Check the costs associated with submitting the design registration application in writing, at the Justiç website.

Registering a design takes about 3 months

Find out what this process entails, on the Justiç website.

Follow the design registration

You can follow your design registration progress through INPI notifications. Whenever there is a change in the registration application, the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) notifies you via email.

These notifications also allow you to closely follow your design’s journey after registration.

Please consult the Justiç website for more information on:

Submitting a design registration application abroad

The protection granted by the Portuguese Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) is valid only in Portugal. If you want to protect a design in another country, you must submit a registration application through other responsible bodies.

To ensure the protection of the design abroad, you can choose between applying for the registration of the design or model:

Registration in the country where you want to protect the design

If you wish to protect your design in a specific country, or separately in different countries, you should apply to the industrial property protection agency in that country and submit the registration application.

Check the contact list of international bodies to find out where you should apply.

Application for registration of a design in the European Union

To have a design protected in the European Union (EU), please apply to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to protect a design.

With this type of application, registration is requested in the 27 countries of the European Union at the same time, and it is not possible to limit protection to certain countries.

To find out if the design is not yet registered in any of the Member States, check Designview, a common database managed by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and available in the official languages of the 27 EU countries.

The EUIPO does not analyse the novelty and singular character of the design, nor does it refuse the application based on these requirements. It merely ascertains whether the industrial design fits its definition and is not contrary to ethical and proper practices.

Protecting a design in the European Union can be done by a:

To register the design, please submit the application to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO):

  • online
  • by fax to +34 965 131 344
  • by post, to Avenida de Europa, 4, 03008 Alicante, Spain
  • at the office reception desk (from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM).

The registration of the industrial design is valid for 5 years and can be renewed four more times (for a total of 25 years of registration)

This registration gives the right to exclusive use of the design and to prohibit the manufacture, offer, placing on the market, import, use or storage for the purposes of the products which relate to the industrial design, provided that those products do not present a different overview.

An unregistered industrial design is protected for 3 years

To guarantee the protection of an unregistered industrial design, it is not necessary to submit an application. This protection is valid for 3 years from the date of the first disclosure of the industrial design to the public, and cannot be renewed.

This type of protection only provides the right to gives prohibit copying of the design and is difficult to prove.

Registration application for an international design

Portugal is not part of the Hague system for the International Registration of Industrial Designs. However, the European Union (EU) is.

Therefore, a Portuguese or non-national person residing in Portugal, as a citizen of an EU Member State, can protect a design in more than 60 countries with a single application.

The application must be directly submitted to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Please visit the Justiç website for more information on how to register designs abroad.