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Community design

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Community design

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EC) No 6/2002 on protecting Community designs

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THE REGULATION DO?

It establishes an EU-wide system for obtaining a Community design covered by uniform protection. It sets out the procedure for registering designs with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM).

The EU system coexists with national protection systems. Any issues not falling within the scope of the regulation are covered by the national laws of the EU countries.

KEY POINTS

Scope

  • To qualify for protection, designs must be new and have an individual character (they must be different from existing products).
  • Parts of complex products whose appearance determines the designs concerned (such as visible replacement parts in cars) will not be protected by this system.
  • However, parts of other products which are visible during normal use of the product in which they are integrated may qualify for protection.

Community design rights

The right to the Community design is granted to the designer or their successor in title. The regulation allows for 2 types of protection of designs, both of which apply directly in all EU countries.

  • 1.

    Unregistered Community design:

    • no formalities,
    • short-term protection for a maximum of 3 years from the date on which the design was first made available to the EU public, i.e. when the product was put on sale through marketing or prior publication measures.
  • 2.

    Registered Community design:

    • registered with the OHIM,
    • protection for a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 25 years.

Registered designs are protected against both copying and the independent development of similar designs, whereas unregistered designs are protected only against copying.

Limitation of the rights

The rights exclude a number of acts including:

  • those done privately and for non-commercial purposes,
  • those done for experimental purposes,
  • acts of reproduction, such as for teaching purposes.

The regulation does not apply to equipment on ships and aircraft registered in a non-EU country when these temporarily enter EU territory.

Registration of a Community design

  • An application to register a Community design may be submitted to OHIM or to a national industrial property office.
  • All applications are transmitted to OHIM, which conducts a formal examination and, where applicable, grants the Community design to the applicant by entering it in the Community design register.
  • The entry is then published by the office in a bulletin open to the public.
  • The applicant may request that publication be deferred for a period of 30 months from the date of filing in order to protect sensitive information.

Licences

A Community design may be licensed for the whole or part of the EU. A licence may be exclusive or non-exclusive. The consent of the right-holder is essential.

Invalidity

A registered Community design may be declared invalid if:

  • the design does not meet the requirements laid down for a Community design;
  • the holder does not have a right to the Community design;
  • the design constitutes an improper use of a work protected under the copyright law of an EU country.

Penalties

The measures which may be taken in the event of infringement are set out in the regulation. These include the prohibition of production and the seizure of the infringing products. The court of an EU country may also impose other penalties.

FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

It applies from 6 March 2002.

BACKGROUND

ACT

Council Regulation (EC) No 6/2002 of 12 December 2001 on Community designs (OJ L 3, 5.1.2002, pp. 1-24)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 6/2002 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 29.02.2016

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