We analyze product designs and submit expert opinions for the court

A company can find itself in a product design dispute with another company or a government institution. For instance, a competitor might start to copy a design that you have registered or the Patent Office could reject your design registration on the purported basis a similar product  is already registered by another company. Around 80 000 product designs are registered in the European union every year. Of those, in 2014 the registration of around 3000 design solutions were disputed through EUIPO.

We assist lawyers, producers and consumers in product design disputes by providing a semiotic expert opinion. Various product design protection legislations state that design is either a two or three dimensional layout, for example, consider a mobile phone. The latter is a collection of features, that is comprised of form, configuration, ornament, color, shape of the surface and material. In the case of the mobile phone, its design determines its shape  (form) and the position of its buttons (configuration). The mobile phone might also have orderly, rythmic incisions on the sides (ornament), a colorful casing (colour), a rugged rear part (shape of the surface) and a metallic casing (material).

What is the semiotic expert opinion composed of, how is it done and why should one decide to purchase it? What are the components of a semiotic expert opinion? How is it done? And why should one pay for it? Semiotic expert opinions are built on the scientific theories of Charles Sanders Peirce and Ferdinand de Saussure and on the studies of experimental psyhology and culture studies. It should be noted that a semiotician is not a material scientist or a chemist, so when in doubt, to determine characteristics, we require input from specialialists in other fields. Semiotic expert opinions can be used as supporting material in product design disputes.

We highlight some essential aspects of semiotic expert opinions below, followed by a list of some advantages for the client.


  • Expert embarks with the question that is posed to him.
  • Expert analyses the question and answers to it.
  • The answer is based on the methods of semiotics and criteria stated in the product design protection legislation.


  1. Two product designs seem confusingly similar or the refusal of the Patent office seems to be ungrounded.
  2. Product owner turns to their legal adviser or patent attorney.
  3. Legal adviser or patent attorney requests an expert opinion from a semiotician.
  4. Semiotician specializing in product design disputes compiles an expert opinion.
  5. Semiotician explains his findings to the legal adviser or patent attorney.
  6. Expert opinion is given to the court of law, Patent office or other dispute parties.


  • No surveys are needed. Semiotic analyses of product designs are structural and context independent in the sense that they only consider features which are common to all sign users.
  • One expert is enough. Semiotic sign models systematically gather various parameters in product design protection legislation into one analysis. A single semiotician specializing in product design disputes can write the entire expert opinion.
  • Focus on relevant aspects. Semiotics is able to explain the nature and relations between the aforementioned parameters. For instance cases where the form aspect dominates the other parameters.
  • Reverse engineering. As semiotics is used for product design creation, semiotics is also well suited to analyze the design.

Our team consists of renowned experts, who are competent and experienced in the field of semiotic analyses of product design.