Customer Story: Ornamo Art and Design Finland

Customer Story: Ornamo Art and Design Finland

Kuvassa on Ornamo ry:n lakimies Jussi Ilvonen. “In the eyes of the partners, commercialisation of the design may be much more attractive if the appearance of the product has been protected,” explains Jussi Ilvonen, Legal Advisor of Ornamo Art and Design Finland."

Design rights protect products on their path to success

For a designer, the design right is the most effective way of protecting the appearance of a product. By registering a design, the designer gets the exclusive right to use the appearance of the product. This gives the designer a competitive advantage and potential for added income.

A designer can protect such items as pieces of furniture, light fixtures, appearance of a user interface or a logo.

“Registering a design at the PRH is a fairly low-cost and quick way of protecting a design. In the eyes of the manufacturing company and other potential partners, commercialisation of the design may be much more attractive if the appearance of the product has been protected," explains Jussi Ilvonen, Legal Advisor of Ornamo Art and Design Finland, the Finnish expert organisation of the design sector.

The differences between a new design and already registered designs can be easily checked from the designs register maintained by the PRH. The register is public and free of charge.

Design protection acts as a deterrent to imitators

According to Ilvonen, designers are often worried that the protection provided by the design right only applies to identical copies. Many designers also assume that taking action in the case of infringements is always difficult and expensive.

“Clearly worded applications accompanied by good pictures, registering more than one design with the same application and considering the combination of different industrial property rights often provide the best protection for the appearance of a design."

Supervision and taking action in the case of infringements is usually more difficult in larger areas.

“It is clear, however, that design protection significantly reduces the risk of imitation. It should also be remembered that many suspected cases of infringement can be cost-effectively dealt with by sending the competitor a prohibition letter showing your own exclusive rights to the design."

Design right matters are often on the negotiation table

Ornamo members can ask for the Legal Advisor’s assistance free of charge in such issues as tricky questions in draft agreements and in matters concerning intellectual property rights.

“Design rights are on the negotiation table on a weekly basis. Members rarely ask about them specifically but I often raise these issues in connection with agreements, for example. Most of our members are probably familiar with the term because we have provided extensive information and training in IPR matters in recent years," Ilvonen adds.

However, according to the membership surveys carried out by Ornamo, less than half of all members have used IPR protection Instruments.

Know your intellectual property rights!

Ornamo recommends that designers register their design rights and that they should not grant licences too generously. A licence granted to a partner allows the design to be commercialised but it also ensures that the designer can benefit from the rise in its value.

If an extensive commercialisation is envisaged, the protection of the design should be carefully planned and adequate resources to it allocated.

Ilvonen reminds that companies can also use the innovation voucher provided by Business Finland to ask for expert advice in the planning of IPR matters.

“The extensive research and information resources of the key organisations in the sector and cooperation between them are the best guarantee that we can provide our members with useful information and in this way produce more success stories in design products and services in Finland."

Ornamo Art and Design Finland

Ornamo Art and Design Finland is an expert organisation for designers, which advances the profession of designers and promotes the role of design in society.

The organisation, which was established in 1911, has nearly 2,700 highly educated professionals as members. The membership provides them with a broad range of different benefits and services and support at different stages of studies and working life.

Kuvassa on Ornamo ry:n logo.

Finnish text: Marjo Rautvuori
Pictures: Ornamo ry, Nina Kaverinen