A design refers to the features of a shape, configuration, colours, pattern or ornament applied to any article or non-physical product that give that article or non-physical product its appearance. It protects the external appearance of the article or non-physical product.

When you register a design, you protect the external appearance of the article or non-physical product and have the right to control its use.

As an owner of the registered design, you can prevent others from using the design without your permission. You can exploit your design in many ways.

You can also use your registration to protect your market share by barring copying by others, license if to third parties for commercial returns or sell the design for monetary returns. 

A design must satisfy the following criteria to qualify for registration:

  1. New – The registered design must not have been registered in Singapore or elsewhere before, or published anywhere in the world before the date of application of the first filing.

The following cannot be registered as a design:

  • Designs that are contrary to public order or morality
  • Computer programmes or layout designs of integrated circuits
  • Designs applied to certain articles; such as wall plaques, medals and medallions, and printed matter primarily of a literary or artistic character (e.g. calendars, certificates, coupons, greeting cards, leaflets, maps, playing cards, postcards, stamps, and similar articles)
  • Methods or principles of construction
  • Designs that are solely functional
  • Designs that are dependent upon the appearance of another article or non-physical product, of which it is intended by the designer to form an integral part or enable the article or non-physical product to be connected to, or placed in, around or against, another article or non-physical product so that either article or non-physical product may perform its function

Once your design is registered, it will be protected for an initial 5 years from the date of filing. Thereafter, the registration is to be renewed every 5 years, up to 15 years.