Copyright 2015 OnlinePatents B.V.                            Website powered bij App-Bouwen                       Business Guide                         Proclaimer

Home eng Model



A design is the appearance of a product or a part thereof, which results from the features of, in particular, the lines, the contours, the shape, the texture or the materials of the product itself or its ornamentation. Designs can be protected by registering the design. In the Benelux and EU, registration results in an exclusive right for a period of five years, which can be extended to a maximum of 25 years.


To register a design, the appearance needs to be new and have an individual character. Features of appearance of a product which are solely dictated by its technical function cannot be protected as a design. Patent law covers this form of protection. In the Benelux and the EU, novelty and individual character are not examined in the registration procedure, which makes the procedure relatively simple.


Design protection in the Benelux comes in four variants:

  1. Benelux design registration;
  2. Registered Community Design (for the EU);
  3. Unregistered Community Design (for the EU);
  4. International design registration designating either the Benelux or the European Union.


Products with a relatively short product life-cycle cannot benefit maximally from the design registration. For these type of products, the unregistered design protection scheme has been implemented for the EU. Designs can benefit from three years of protection after first public use against counterfeits without registering.


Designs may not only be protected by a design registration or the unregistered design protection scheme, but may also be protected via copyright or a trademark registration at the same time. This in particular applies to three-dimensional products or packages, of which the appearance at the same time may be new (for design), has individual character (for design), is distinctive (for trademark) and/or is original and creative (for copyright).


Around the world many different names are given to design protection. For instance, the US protect designs via a design patent which is equivalent to the design registration in the EU, but may be confused with the patents protecting inventions. The latter are called utility patents in the US.

We are OnlinePatents:
OnlinePatents is an Intellectual Property
firm focusing ongaining competitive advantages for its clients, so that they can grow and meet their goals.

We are SOCIAL:
Our clients fiollow us on FACEBOOK
We tweet with them on TWITTER
We link professionally on LINKEDIN
But we also like to MEET IN PERSON

For questions:
Personal contact: 0031-10 261 80 00
Videoconference: OnlinePatents (Skype) Urgent matters: 0031-6 41 43 57 95