Available to Non-Community as well as Community creators, the protection resulting from the Community design is in force since March 6, 2002 for unregistered community designs, whereas the first applications for registered community designs are accepted since April 1, 2003. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), based in Alicante, Spain, handles the registering of designs.
In parallel to the already recognized Community Trademark (CTM) system, now renamed European Union Trademark (EU Trade Mark) since March 23, 2016, the Community Design Regulation establishes a unitary and autonomous protection for designs on the whole European Union territory. Protection extends to the following 28 member States of the European Union (EU): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
MAIN LEGAL BASIS
- Council Regulation (EC) No. 6/2002 of December 12, 2001, on Community Designs.
- Council Decision 1999/468/EC of June 28, 1999, laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission.
- Directive 98/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of October 13, 1998, on the legal protection of designs.
- Council Regulation (EC) No. 207/2009 of February 26, 2009, on the Community Trademark.
- Council Decision No. EX-14-4 of December 4, 2014, on examination of design invalidity applications.
Besides the usual requisites i.e., identification of the applicant and a representation of the design, an application for a registered Community design must contain an indication of the products in which the design is intended to be incorporated or to which it is intended to be applied. Interestingly, several designs may be combined in one multiple application.
Where to file: As for EU Trademarks, the registered Community design is examined and registered by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The application can be filed either directly at the Office, or at the central Industrial Property Office of a member State, or in the Benelux countries at the Benelux Design Office.
Official languages: Applications must be filed in one of the official languages of the European Union. The applicant will also indicate a second language, which shall be a language of the Office: English, French, German, Italian or Spanish. All proceedings at the EUIPO will therefore be conducted in one of those languages.