The European Community Registered Design
The examination and registration of Community Designs commenced at the beginning of April 2003. It is now possible to obtain a single design registration covering the whole of the European Union (EU) at a relatively low cost. Previously, it was necessary to obtain individual registrations in the various national Designs Registries, but a single application filed with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) will give protection throughout all member states of the EU.
A Community Design covers all the member states of the European Union, namely: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom. From 1 May 2004 new and existing Community Designs are extended to Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. From 1 January 2007 new and existing Community Designs are additionally extended to Bulgaria and Romania.
National registrations continue to be possible in the individual countries.
To be registrable, a design must be new and have individual character. However, a grace period is provided so that publication of the design during the preceding twelve months by the designer, by his/her successor in title, or as a consequence of an abuse, will not invalidate the registration.
Although it is necessary to identify the product to which the design is to be applied, this does not limit the scope of protection. Thus, if a new design is registered for "a car" this would still cover a toy made to the same design.
Multiple unrelated designs can be included in a single application provided they all fall within the same product class. An extra fee is required for each additional design.
Where an application is filed by a company the individual designers can be named.
Publication of the design can be deferred on payment of additional fees.
The initial period of registration is five years, but this can be extended for further five-year periods up to a maximum of twenty five years.
FIND OUT MORE:
Visit the web site of the Community Designs Office (OHIM)
© Craske & Co., 2003, 2005, 2007
Last updated: 04 November 2012