The EU Design Approach
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The EU Design Approach

A Global Appraisal

Edited by Annette Kur, Marianne Levin and Jens Schovsbo

The EU’s ‘Design Approach’ represented a unique attempt to protect industrial design and designers in and on their own terms. It has now been in place for more than a decade and this book, including contributions from leading international scholars, takes stock and attempts to find out what became of the Design Approach: Is it still observed; what has it achieved; how does it interact with other areas of the law; what became of the spare parts problem and how did the world respond to it?
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Chapter 2: The Design Approach in a design historical perspective

Stina Teilmann-Lock


A cornerstone of European design law is the ‘Design Approach’, which introduced a neutral concept of design, implying that particular aesthetic qualities of designs are not a requirement for protection. In this chapter the design historical contexts of design law are traced: the examples of Italian and Danish design history are used to illustrate that there are significant links between the evolution of modern design in Europe and the way that the Design Approach laid out the conceptual framework of European design protection. Importantly, the Italian and the Danish design traditions represent important trends in the development of European industrial design with an understanding of design as a kind of added value and as integral to the process of making industrial products. This notion of design is a lens through which we may look at the role that European design legislation may play for value creation in saturated markets.

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