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 11: The EU Design Approach – a global appraisal

Annette Kur, Marianne Levin and Jens Schovsbo


This chapter brings together the findings of the previous chapters and use these for some finale perspectives. It is concluded that, even though hard evidence of the economic efficacy does not exist, the design system should be considered as an overall success: the envisaged model is in place and running and seems to have been well received by the users. Some problems have arisen that were not anticipated or dealt with at the time of drafting – most notably the overlap with copyright and unfair market law – but the development in case law from the CJEU – notably Nintendo and DOCERAM – indicate promising pathways for courts to manage the negative effects of overlaps. Similarly for the effects of the scope of protection where the catalogue of limitations is overly limited the CJEU with inspiration from trade mark law points in useful directions. Adjustments of the system are thus called for but basically the system seems to be efficient and to deliver what it was designed to do.

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