Design protection can be acquired for a novel visual appearance or outlook of a product or part thereof, in so far as the appearance is new and has an individual character.


Exclusive rights are acquired by deposit of a design application, from which the characteristic novel appearance of the design is clear. A design patent registration expires after 5 years and is renewable for four periods of 5 years each. Novelty of the design within the European Union is a condition sine qua non for valid design registration.

European Union

By filing a design application, design protection may also be obtained for all the countries of the European Union; the design registration is valid for a period of 5 years, which period is renewable with 4 period of 5 years each. Apart from the registered design protection, within the European Union also unregistered design protection is possible. A novel visual appearance with an individual character is being protected against copying for a period of 3 years after the date the new design was first made available to the public.


International design protection, which may also cover the Benelux countries, is acquired by means of a design application. This application can only be field in those countries being member to the relevant Treaty and protection is only applicable in those countries if they are specifically indicated – and paid for – in the application. The design registration is valid for a period of 5 years, which period is renewable for at least one period of 5 years. If the national Design Law in one of the indicated countries provides for a longer period of validity of national design protection, the International design registration may be valid – in that country – for same period. As far as the countries of the European Union are concerned, design protection may last up to 25 years.

National design rights in other countries

Design protection in other countries may be acquired by filing a national design application. The conditions an costs may vary and on request we will advise yu on the subject.