Designrights only exist after filing an application of pictures of the design. The design is to be new, and the rights are limited to the looks of the design, as long as the looks are not technically obliged.
The shape of a (smoking)pipe may act as an example. Those parts which are hollow are not protectable, because its hollowness serves a purpose. However, the curvature can be protected, because this curvature does not have a technical aspect.
A design is registered for only a certain kind of a product. The registered shape of a vase will therefore not help if someone else use this same shape for a table. Designs are for 5 years, and can be renewed 4 times.
The Netherlands are party to a treaty with Belgium and Luxembourg, resulting in a union in which only design rights for the whole union can exist.
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