Design means ornamental features of the design.

The launch of a new product is mostly preceded by many months of development and substantial investments. Hence the great need for protecting such investments.

Generally speaking, there are two main ways to protect a new product: by applying for a design registration and by applying for a patent. The two procedures overlap to some extent.

The patent application has to be started up before the product is made public. For design registration most countries require the product to be absolutely new and not yet known in the relevant circles of trade and industry. In both cases action towards registration should preferably be taken before the product is marketed (or even only released for pilot projects).

In some cases, a product’s design as such may be eligible for trademark protection. If the shape of an appliance functions as a sign of recognition to the public, the outward appearance can be registered as a trademark. For example, the design of a soft drink (Coca Cola), or the shape of potato crisps (Wokkel, a Dutch fantasy word for a corkscrew-shaped potato crisp) can be a trademark.

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