1. Design Embodied a Part of an Article

The current Design Law allows for registration of a design embodied in a portion of an article. In this case, the application should indicate that the design being claimed is for a portion of an article, but the title of design should refer to the name of the entire article comprising an individual unit of trade, not the name of the portion being claimed.

The claimed design of a portion of an article should be clearly delineated by the use of solid and broken lines: solid lines for the portion being claimed and broken lines for the portion being disclaimed. Also, such an indication should be stated in the brief explanation of the design.

As a rule, a design application may not claim more than one portion of an article at a time. If more than one portion of an article needs to be claimed,
there must be a separate design application for each of them. However, if several portions taken together form a unit, the unit may be deemed to be a portion of an article.

2. Widened Application of the First-to-File Rule

The new Examination Guidelines provide for a widened application of the first-to-file rule, which binds the same applicant under certain circumstances. That is, where a later-filed design application for a portion of an article or an article belonging to a set of articles is deemed to be similar to an earlier-filed design application for a whole article or a whole
set of articles that was laid open or published after the filing of the later application, the later design may not be registered.

3. Design Embodied in a Set of Articles

The sets of articles and components that may be registered under the new law are identified under a category of sets of articles and components. The number of allowable sets of articles has increased from 6 to 31, and only those sets identified under the category may be registered.

4. Opportunity to Further Describe the Creative Essentials of a Design

Previously, describing the gist of creative contents of a design was strictly formal. Now, it is possible to describe the creative essentials of a design in greater detail aiding the examiner in considering the novelty and originality of the claimed design. However, such description of the gist of creative contents would not affect the scope of a design right.

5. Conversion of application

Previously, when an application's subject matter was converted, for example, from a similar design to an independent design or from a not-to-be-examined design to a to-be-examined design, the original application was deemed to have been abandoned and a new application number was assigned. Now, such conversion of an application may be carried out in the same manner as an amendment, and no new drawings
and documents are required to be submitted other than a simple conversion application. Also, the division and conversion of an application can be executed in one document.

6. The Term of a Design Right

The term of a design right is for fifteen years after the registration date of its establishment. However, the expiry date of the term of a design right related to a similar design is the expiry date of the term of the design right related to the principal design.

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