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Unlike patents (which protect technical inventions), designs refer to the appearance of an object and do not need to be useful or functional in order to be protectable.

The requirements for the grant of a design are as follows:
a) individual character – the design must be sufficiently different from other designs in order to be distinguished, i.e. it must have individual character;
b) novelty – the design may not be totally new, but it must be a new combination of known components or a different arrangement of components that are already used in such a way as to confer individual character on the respective object;
c) it must be visible during normal use, which is not the case, for example, of the internal (and therefore not visible) parts of a machine, even if they are new.

Thus, a design means the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product itself or its ornamentation.

Any industrial or handicraft article is considered as a product for the purpose of protection as a design, namely:
- components intended to be assembled into a complex product;
- packaging;
- get-up;
- graphic symbols;
- typographic typefaces.

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