Main conditions for protection
For a design to enjoy protection in accordance with design legislation, it must meet the condition of being new and having individual character. Design is considered new if it has not been made available to the public prior to the application date or priority date. When assessing whether a design is new, consideration is given to whether an identical design has been made available to the public and not whether a similar design can be found.
The Icelandic Patent Office only examines whether the formal requirements for the application have been met before the design is approved for registration. No separate search is made to determine whether a design can be regarded as new and having individual character. However, the Icelandic Patent Office may, on request and in exchange for a fee, examine whether a design possibly infringes on any design that is already protected or conflicts with the trademark rights of another party.
The concept of a “grace period” is an exception from the above condition that a design may not have been made available before the application date.