Friday 9 December 2022

Protection of designs to become quicker, cheaper and more predictable

On 28 November 2022, the European Commission published two proposals to modernize the EU designs regime and make it cheaper, quicker and more predictable to protect designs across the EU. 

The existing design framework was created and harmonized in 2003. Since then, more and more design registrations have been applied for every year and design protection has known a real revival, supported by initiatives such as the DesignEuropa Awards.

On 28 November 2022, following the successful example of the EU Trade mark reform a few years ago, the European Commission published two proposals to modernize the existing  framework.

The recent proposals of the European Commission aim at a.o.:

  • Making registered EU design protection more accessible and affordable by inter alia lowering the fees and making it easier to present designs in an application for registration (e.g. dynamically by video) or to combine more than one design in one application;
  • Updating the terminology from the outdated “Community designs (RCDs)” to “Registered EU designs (REUDs)”;
  • Harmonizing procedures and ensuring greater complementarity among EU level and national design systems, e.g. on requirements for registering designs or simplifying rules for invalidating registered designs;
  • Introducing an EU-wide ‘repair clause’, excluding ‘must match’ spare parts from design protection, in order to increase competition in the spare parts market. This is particularly important for the car repair sector, where it should become allowed to reproduce identical “must match” car body parts for repair in all EU countries. A transitional period is however foreseen for existing designs who will continue to be protected by the existing transitional regime for 10 years.

What’s next? The two proposals are now transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council for adoption. Once adopted, most amendments to the Community Design Regulation will become applicable three months after its entry into force while the new rules of the Directive will have to be transposed into national law by the EU Member States within two years.


9 December 2022