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Malta Designs (Industrial Designs) / Application & Registration

Design Application & Registration in Malta

An application for the registration of a design (industrial design) shall be filed with the Malta IPO in the Maltese or English language on the appropriate form.

Requirements

Filing requirements for Malta Design Applications:

  1. The Power of Attorney (POA Requirements);
  2. The applicant's name and address;
  3. The design including the related drawings;
  4. The description (in English or Maltese) of the design containing its main characteristics;

Claiming Priority

When an applicant wishes to claim priority for a design, by reason of an application for a design duly filed in a Convention Country, the related application must be filed within 6 months from the official date of the first application in the Convention Country.

Requirements & Documentation for Claim of Priority:

  • Country, date and application number of the first application;
  • Copies of the priority documentation of the first application from the Comptroller of Industrial Property (in case the priorty documentation is not in English a translation is required);

Registrability

"Designs" means the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself, and/or its ornamentation.
The absolute characteristics of a design to be protected by a design right are:

  • Novelty and
  • Individual Character
The design right covers the outward appearance of a product but does not protect its function.

Novelty

A design is considered to be new if no identical design has been made available to the public before the date of filing of the application for registration or, if priority is claimed, before the date of priority.
Provided that designs whose features differ only in immaterial details shall also be deemed to be identical.

Individual Character

A design is considered to have individual character if the overall impression it has on the informed user differs from the overall impression produced by any other design which has been made available to the public before the date of filing of the application for registration or, if priority is claimed, before the priority date.
In assessing individual character, the degree of freedom of the designer in developing the design shall be taken into consideration.

Exclusions from Registrability

The registration of a design shall be refused:

  • if the design does not fall within the definition of a design in Article 63 of the Malta Patents and Designs Act;
  • if it consists of or is significantly made up of the national flag of Malta;
  • if it contains a representation of the national flag of Malta and it appears to the Comptroller to be misleading or offensive;
  • if it consists of or contains:
    • the arms, or any of the principal armorial bearings of the arms appertaining to the President or to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Malta, or any insignia or device so nearly resembling such arms or any such armorial bearing as to be likely to be mistaken for them or it,
    • a representation of the Presidential or Episcopal flags,
    • a representation of the President or the Archbishop, or any colourable imitation thereof, or
    • words, letters or devices likely to lead persons to think that the applicant either has or recently has had Presidential or Episcopal patronage or authorisation, unless it appears to the Comptroller that consent has been given by or on behalf of the President or the Archbishop;
  • if it is contrary to public policy or accepted principles of morality; or
  • if the applicant for the right in a registered design is not entitled to it under Maltese law.
   If in doubt, you should check with us if an intended design application is excluded from registrability.

Design Registration Process

The timeline form application to registration:


Step 1: Filing the Design Application

After we have received your instructions to file the design we check that the application filing requirements are complete. If all filing requirements are complete we prepare the official documents and file the application directly with the Malta IPO.

Step 2: Examination of Application  .  approx. 6-12 months

The Malta IPO examines the application in order to determine whether the application complies with the requirements laid down in the Malta Patents and Designs Act and if the requirements for registration are met.
In case the IPO determines that the application does not comply with the requirements then the applicant shall be given the opportunity to amend the application in order to comply with the requirements.
In this case we receive communication from the IPO which will be forwarded to the applicant (resp. to the applicant's representative).

Step 3: Certificate of Registration  .  Checking & Forwarding within 2-7 working days

If the application as originally filed or as amended complies with the requirements the Malta IPO registers the design.
On the registration the "Certificate of Registration" shall be issued by the IPO and a notice shall be published in the Government Gazette stating the fact that the design has been registered and that it is available to be viewed by the public.
The "Certificate of Registration" will be sent to us. We check if the certificate has been issued correctly and forward the original certificate to the applicant (resp. to the applicant's representative) by registered mail.

Rights conferred by a Design

The registration of a design shall confer on its holder the exclusive right to use it and to prevent any third party not having his consent from using it.
The use shall cover, in particular, the making, offering, putting on the market, importation, export or use of a product in which the design is incorporated or to which it is applied, or stocking such a product for such purposes.
The rights of the proprietor have effect from the date of registration but no infringement proceedings may be initiated before the date on which the design is in fact registered.

Exhaustion of Rights

The proprietor of a registered design is not entitled to prohibit the use of a product in which the design is incorporated or to which the design is applied when the product has been put on the market by the proprietor or with his consent.