Can you patent clothing or fashion designs

Design protection


Registered designs protect the appearance of your products

Registered designs protect the appearance of industrially or handcrafted products, for example clothing, furniture, vehicles, fabrics, ornaments or graphic symbols. Parts of products can also be protected as registered designs, for example the sole of a sports shoe or the cap of a writing instrument.

A registered design grants a temporary monopoly on the appearance, i.e. the external shape and color design of a product. The representations of the design submitted with an application define the subject matter and scope of the property right and are therefore of central importance. Only what can be seen from the representations is protected.

Registered designs can be registered by companies or private individuals. The protection arises through the entry of the design in the register kept by the DPMA and applies in the entire territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. The term of protection of a registered design is a maximum of 25 years from the filing date.

Registered designs give rights

The most important links for design registration

As the owner of a registered design, you have the exclusive right to use the design. You can prohibit third parties from using your design in the manufacture, sale, or import and export of products. This means that, as the design owner, you can take action against any design that does not give the informed user an overall impression other than your registered design.

Register European and international

Designs registered with the DPMA apply exclusively to the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. If you want to protect your design in the member states of the European Union or in other countries, you can also register an EU-wide community design or have your design registered internationally.

additional Information

We have put together initial information on design protection on these pages. If you have any questions, it is worth taking a look at our information sheets or, if in doubt, the law. You can also find more information in our design brochure.


Status: March 22, 2021