Design, utility model and patent law offer means of protecting appearances and inventions that make up valuable parts of Creative Industries products. Common to designs, utility model and patents is that they are types of rights that typically require registration. Generally, design rights apply to the ‘appearance’ of designs, including the shape, patterns, lines, colours, contours and structure of a product. Patents apply to inventions – products or processes that offer new technical solutions to problems – that are novel and have inventive step. Utility models apply to minor inventions that are novel but without inventive step. The same item may have, for example, its appearance protected as a design and its technical function protected by a patent. The legal basis for protection exists on the national and on the international level. As with all types of intellectual property right designs, utility models and patents grant an exclusive right to commercial use.
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