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Protect your trade marks and designs in the European Union

Protect your intellectual property in the European Union

Design definition

Design protection is an important business asset for companies of all sizes, not just bigger ones.

EUIPO’s research shows that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which own designs have 17% higher revenue per employee than SMEs that do not own any intellectual property rights.

Designs are well defined in the European Union:

'The appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation'.

Article 3 of the Design Regulation


Examples of designs

Almost any industrial or handicraft item can be eligible for design protection (except for computer programs)

Search for an example of packaging of products

Packaging of products

RCD 002710731-0001
Search for an example of a product / set of products

A product / set of products

RCD 002490193-0001
Search for an example of composite products

Composite products

RCD 000408166-0001
Search for an example of parts of products

Parts of products

RCD 229752-0001
Search for an example of computer icons

Computer icons

RCD 003001494-0002
Search for an example of drawings and artwork

Graphic designs

RCD 004547370-0002

A little bit of theory

Intellectual Property

The concept behind intellectual property (IP) is straightforward and has been with us for a long time. Wherever we go, we are surrounded by intellectual property.

Mere thoughts and ideas do not qualify; intellectual property defines and protects human innovations and creations

  • Trade marks signal the origin of products to consumers
  • Designs specify how products look
  • Copyright relates to artistic creations, such as books, music, paintings, sculptures and films
  • Patents protect technical inventions in all fields of technology

Intellectual property rewards innovators and enables everyone to benefit from their achievements.


The Intellectual Property Metro: designers often re-create ideas to make something new, useful and unique. Download this map – it will help you register your rights.

An adaptation of the metro map concept representing the timelines of the different Intellectual property processes


More resources on IP


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