In the past, the computer generated icons (Icons) and graphic user interface (GUI) applied to a tangible article like screen or monitor may also be filed to obtain a design patent. However, with the development of emerging technology and digital economy, graphic image designs may not necessarily be displayed through tangible articles. After having reviewed design patent examination practices in recent years, TIPO issued an amendment to “Volume 3–Design Patent Substantive Examination” of the Patent Examination Guidelines which take effect on 1 November 2020.
The amendment relaxes the restriction that the graphic image deign has to be applied to a tangible article, which allows an applicant to designate a computer program product as the article to which a graphic image design is applied, such that the design can cover tangible articles and intangible software or programs. Accordingly, the amended Guidelines would provide an applicant with a more flexible filing strategy and the applicant would have a more complete protection for their designs.
Meanwhile, the amended Guidelines also relax the requirements for disclosing descriptions and drawings, filing a design divisional application; adding architectural designs and interior designs to the examples of subject matter for patent protection.