Kritika: Essays on Intellectual Property
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Kritika: Essays on Intellectual Property

Volume 2

Edited by Gustavo Ghidini, Hanns Ullrich and Peter Drahos

The fields of intellectual property have broadened and deepened in so many ways, and at such pace, that there is a tendency for academic commentators to focus on the next new thing, or to react immediately to judicial developments, rather than to reflect more deeply on the greater themes of the discipline. Kritika: Essays on Intellectual Property is a series of books designed to fulfil this role by creating a forum for essays that take a critical, long-term approach to the field of intellectual property. Volume 2 covers issues such as inter alia the current limits of knowledge and approaches to intellectual property, a functional account of intellectual property rights, China’s approach to innovation and intellectual property, the emergence of multi-layered IP-protection for designed objects, and the trajectory of increased protection for intellectual property.
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Chapter 5: Design law: caught between chairs?

Jens Schovsbo and Thomas Riis


This essay examines how the protection of designs of mass-produced goods has developed in the EU. Starting from a Nordic perspective, it is pointed out how the coverage of the protection of design has expanded dramatically over time. As a result, today’s designers often find themselves at a smorgasbord of protection options in copyright, design law, trade mark law and unfair marketing law. It is shown how this development has taken place in a piecemeal way and not according to any general master plan. It is argued that the combined effect of these developments is a risk of overprotection and of undermining design law as the base line protection model for designs. Finally, it is argued that the upcoming reform of the EU design system should seek to address these concerns and provide a clear platform for the design law protection scheme. To do so, a holistic approach should be undertaken which involves also the protection offered in adjacent areas such as trade mark, copyright and unfair competition law. Keywords Design law, EU, copyright law, trade mark law, unfair competition law

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