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This contribution presents the concept of a secure implementation of a distributed, web-based electronic design framework. Our two-tier client-webserver-toolserver architecture has been extended to support permanent databases for collaborative, distributed design development. In the sample application of the framework, developed in Java, any of the servers can be based on Linux, MS Windows or Sun-SPARC Java-servlet enabled servers. The feasibility of a secure, web-based design framework has been sufficiently proved. The technological approach used to do this involves the use of novel, yet tried and tested methods, taken, where appropriate, from the rapidly advancing field of e-commerce solutions.