Often forgotten or neglected, Design rights can play a strategic role in the protection of your business’ intellectual property. The recent "Tablet Wars" between Apple and Samsung in the Dutch, UK and other courts worldwide have demonstrated how significant this right can potentially be.
The Design right protects the (distinctive) appearance of a product or a part of the product (something that is conferred by the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product itself or of its ornamentation). The design must be novel and have individual character.
Registering your design with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property or the EU’s OHIM (Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market) confers the exclusive right to use the design and to prevent any third party not having your consent from using it. The initial period of protection is five years, renewable for four successive periods of five years, with a maximum period of protection of 25 years.