Industrial design rights confer protection of the visual appearance of products, either in their entirety or for selected parts of a product.
A characteristic and elegant design will usually contribute to brand recognition, thereby influencing consumer preferences. The final design of a product is often the result of a considerable development effort. Through a registered design protection the proprietor will ensure that these investments pay off.
An industrial design right protects the overall characteristic impression of a product as visually perceived by the informed consumer. While marketing and copyright law offer protection against slavish imitation of a product, design rights additionally cover less blatant copies, which essentially create the same overall visual impression.
A registered design will therefore give the proprietor a competitive edge over his competitors, especially in case of conflict. Hence, a registered design may be viewed as a strong economic asset, the value of which will rise with increasing brand awareness.
In Denmark, the protection period for an industrial design may last for up to 25 years. In other countries, this period may vary from about 10 to 50 years, and specific legislation may vary between countries. In addition, there is considerable variation with respect to formal requirements, the specifics of which are stipulated by the design legislation of individual countries.
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