Many companies successfully implement design as part of their differentiation strategy in order to achieve long-term commercial success and establish a competitive advantage. However, the protection of design through industrial design rights, has so far received little attention in the innovation literature. While some studies have already been conducted on trademarks and patents, there is only little research about the role of industrial design rights and the motivation to register these. Therefore, the aim of this diploma thesis is to identify possible reasons for the application and to find out further information on organisational details. This includes factors influencing the application and motives for selecting the application level (national, EU-wide or international). Further, a possible link between the application of design rights and innovation should be investigated. The basis for this thesis is a literature analysis, which contains theoretical background on industrial design rights. Furthermore, new approaches in design literature are discussed and the organisational link between the design right process, the innovation process and the design process is outlined. Descriptive statistics are conducted in order to identify current trends in the design registration behaviour. The insights of these statistics are included as a basis for the empirical investigation. In the analysis, interviews with different Austrian companies are conducted and a qualitative content analysis is carried out. The findings of the cross-case analysis are compared and possible relations are derived. Subsequently, conceptual models were created for influencing factors of the application, for components of a design right strategy, as well as for the selection of the application level.