Law for the modernization of the German design law introduces new design invalidity proceedings (03/2014)

On 1 January 2014, a new German design law came into force. As a major change to the former law, a new invalidity process is established before the German Patent and Trademark Office.

Until now, cancellation of a German design was only available by means of an expensive and time consuming invalidity action before German regional courts. With the coming into effect of the new design law, a request for a declaration of invalidity of a national German design can be submitted to the GPTO to initiate procedures that are comparable to the invalidity proceedings before OHIM. The invalidity request will be handled by newly created design departments which are equipped with three legally trained members who can consult a technical member for special technical questions. The design departments will decide on the invalidity of the design in written proceedings, oral hearings will take place under exceptional circumstances. A subsequent appeal can be submitted to the Federal Patent Court.

The proceedings will be comparably inexpensive with the official fees set at EUR 300 for the invalidity request field with the GPTO and further EUR 500 for a subsequent appeal.