What is a partial design?
A partial design is a form of a design registration focusing only on a unique part of a certain design.
How effective is this system?
Similarity of designs is measured based on the whole shape of designs. Even if parts of a design seem to be identical, both designs may be determined to be dissimilar if the overall impression of a design differs from another design. Thus, a third party might have the possibility to imitate a unique part of a design while creating other parts being different. The partial design system is useful to prevent imitating products because a mere unique part of a whole design is protected.
In addition, in Japan, it is not possible to file multiple designs in one application. Thus, for the creation of a variety of designs which share identical parts, an application for every design has to be filed. However, only one partial design application may cover all series of designs.
How to apply for a partial design?
The application form must indicate a “partial design” upon filing. It is not possible to change a normal application into a “partial design” application after having filed the application.
In addition, in the drawings, the part of the design for which protection is sought shall be shown in solid lines and the environment or surrounding area shall be shown in broken or dashed lines.