Processing of applications

If priority cannot be claimed, the minimum time for processing a design registration application is currently four months. The period of the protection conferred by the design right, however, begins immediately on the filing date if the design is granted registration. The procedure at the Office in outline is the following:

Examination as to form

The Design Rights Unit examines whether the drawings, power of attorney, assignment, payments etc. are as prescribed. If deficiencies are found in this respect, the applicant is sent an office action where he is invited to correct the deficiencies in the application within two months. If no reply to the office action is received within the time limit laid down, the application will be dismissed as abandoned. A dismissed application will be reinstated if the applicant within two months of the expiry of the time limit given in the office action so requests and gives their statement or takes steps to correct the deficiencies and within the same time limit pays the reinstatement fee. An application may only be reinstated once.

Examination as to substance

The unit examines whether the conditions for registration are satisfied. The examination covers all in Finland valid pending registration applications that have been filed before the filing date of the application being examined, as well as the designs currently in the Designs Register and those removed from there. If an obstacle is found, the applicant will be given an office action and a period of two months for giving their answer.

Registration and publication

If no design that would constitute an obstacle to registration is found in the examination and the design is not banal, it will be registered and after that published in the Design Gazette by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office.

Opposition

The opposition period means the period that starts on the day of publishing, and during which the public may file oppositions against a registered design. The opposition must be made in writing to the Finnish Patent and Registration Office within two months of the date of the publication, and reasons for it must be stated in the opposition letter with representations of the design that the opponent regards as an obstacle.

If an opposition is lodged, the registration holder will be notified of it. The registration holder has a period of two months for filing their comments on the opposition. After the opposition has been examined, the registering authority shall revoke the registration to the extent there is an obstacle to registration. If no obstacle to registration is found the registering authority shall reject the opposition.

The right to opposition has in some cases been restricted so that an opposition can only be lodged by a person who considers himself to be entitled to the design.

Following restrictions are at present in force:
- If registration has been sought by someone else than a person entitled to it under Section 1 of the Registered Design Act, opposition may be lodged by anyone who considers himself entitled to the design.
- If, without permission, the design includes:

  • a national coat of arms, a national flag or other State emblem, a Finnish municipal coat of arms, or the flag, coat of arms or other emblem, designation or abbreviation of the designation of an international intergovernmental organization, or a figure, designation or abbreviation of a designation that may be confused with the emblem, indication, designation or abbreviation of a designation
  • an official mark or stamp of inspection or guarantee for the same or similar articles as those for which the design is intended

opposition may be filed by those whose right is violated by the registration.

If the design is similar to a previous design that has become public after the day of filing the application for registration, or if priority is claimed, after the priority date, and which is protected from a day prior to the said date as a registered design for Finland or as an application for a design, opposition may be lodged by the applicant for or owner of a conflicting right.
- If, without permission, the design includes

  • anything which may be understood to be another person's protected trade name, trade symbol or trademark which has become commonly known in this country, or the surname, pseudonym or similar name or the portrait of another person, unless the name or portrait manifestly refers to a person long since deceased;
  • anything that may be interpreted as the title of another person's protected literary or artistic work, provided such title is distinctive, or anything which infringes another's copyright to such a work or their right to a photographic illustration;
  • anything that does not substantially differ from a design or a utility model registered in Finland in another person's name,

opposition may be lodged by the applicant for or the owner of the conflicting right.
In other cases than those mentioned above, opposition may be lodged by anyone. Thus, opposition can be lodged in the following cases:

- The design does not meet the requirements defined in Section 1 a of the Registered Designs Act.
- The design is not new nor has individual character.
- The design is contrary to law and good policy.
- Protection has been sought for characteristics which cannot obtain protection under Section 4 b of Registered Designs Act (so-called technically determined parts and designs of interconnections).

Appealing

If the application is rejected, the applicant may file an appeal. If the application is granted despite the opposition, the right to appeal rests with the opponent. Read more about how to appeal.

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Latest update 02.03.2016