Design Board established in Denmark – a welcome step for artists and designers?

Kat friend, Vishv Priya Kohli, reports on an interesting development in Denmark regarding design law protection, with the establishment of the Danish Design Board.

In Denmark, the challenge facing designers and artists in enforcing their rights against infringement has been an area of concern for at least the past two decades, here. Addressing this need, the Danish Design Board (Designnævnet) was launched on February 24, 2022.

The main goal of the Design Board is to strengthen protection of design and copyright and to offer speedy resolution of disputes. The Design Board has the potential to especially benefit small and upcoming designers and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Against this background, various stakeholders—the community of designers, artists, lawyers and academics—have expressed hope in the launching of the Design Board due to its clear structure, affordable price and proposed efficient timelines.


In recent years, a number of cases (Tal R, Anne Black, Wurtz) have highlighted that the resources required for an SME to resolve a dispute in the courts can be prohibitive. Also, the time required to reach a successful resolution may work the detriment of the rights holder.

In addition, the aftermath of a court case can be financially devastating for small and medium-sized enterprises and sometimes leads to their downsizing, if not demise. As such, seeking redress through the court system has caused many designers and artists to ultimately settle out of court on unfavorable terms.

The Design Board has the potential to redress these problems by providing a channel for dispute resolution that will be both cost effective and speedier.

Composition and structure

The Design Board is composed of specialists in the field of law, architecture, design and handicraft. It is supported by the Association for Legal Protection of Architecture, Design and Crafts, FAOD (Association of Architects and Designers), and DKOD (Danish Craftsmen and Designers. The initiative is supported by Design Denmark, UBVA, Danish Industry (Dansk Industri) and Danish Business (Dansk Erhverv). Law firms have also been involved in the process of establishing the Design Board.

The structural set-up consists of two independent and impartial bodies, the Design Board (Designnævnet) and a Responsum Committee (Responsumudvalget). The Design Board will deal with disputes between two parties where there is a disagreement as to whether one party’s copyright has been infringed.

The Responsum Committee will have the ability to issue ex parte rulings where the case has been brought by a right holder who believes that his/her rights have been infringed. The Responsum Committee will also be able to comment ex parte on whether a creation of the right holder could potentially, be in violation of copyright law.

The Design Board will have the ability to apply a broad spectrum of I IP and related laws to cases that are brought before it, including copyright, design, trade marks, patents, utility models, and marketing laws.

The price structure that has been established appears reasonable when compared to the legal costs in maintaining a case before the courts. Thus, for bringing a case before the Design Board including the decision, the cost is 25,000 DKK (approximately 3,360 euros). An assessment from the Responsum Committee has been set up at 12,500 DKK (approximately 1,680 euros).

It is anticipated that the time frame for resolving disputes will be within six months from receipt of the application. The decisions of the Design Board will not be legally binding. Still, in such a situation, in a brief time span of six months and at a minimal cost, a non-binding ruling would provide the parties with the potential outcome if the case went to court.

Moreover, parties may choose to designate the Design Board as their preferred choice for dispute resolution. In such a case, the decisions would have a legally binding effect.

Picture "Le bon conseil" by Jean-Baptiste Madou (1871).

Design Board established in Denmark – a welcome step for artists and designers? Design Board established in Denmark – a welcome step for artists and designers? Reviewed by Neil Wilkof on Tuesday, March 08, 2022 Rating: 5

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