Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Creative Industries
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Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Creative Industries

Edited by Abbe E.L. Brown and Charlotte Waelde

The creative industries are becoming of increasing importance from economic, cultural, and social perspectives. This Handbook explores the relationship, whether positive or negative, between creative industries and intellectual property (IP) rights.
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Chapter 3: Design, utility models and patents

Stina Teilmann-Lock


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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