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What can be protected? specialises in the protection of designs. Design in the meaning as an IP right does protect the outward appearance of a product or part of it, resulting from the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture, metarials and/or its ornamentation.

Designs are usually protected by design rights or design patents. The Community design right protects the outward appearance of tangible and intangible products.

What's the difference between Design and Copyright?

Designs may be protected by copyright. In practice though, many designs do not fulfill the required preconditions of national copyrights, like the minimal standards of originality. To avoid shortfalls for designers, seperate IP protection for designs exists. In the European Union it is called community design and grants protection to designs, that are novel and of individual character.

Who guarantees the protection of a design?

The European Community guarantees the protection by unregistered Community designs, if all preconditions are met. Once you disclose the design in a way that specialized circles within the Community could gain knowledge of the design, it will be protected for 3 years against copying in every country of the European Community. But as the OHIM states on its website, “in practice, the holder of a UCD may encounter serious problems proving the date of disclosure and therefore that protection exists.“ solves this issue. The designer receives a document of disclosure for every disclosed design, including all relevant details to proof the date and content of disclosure. This document can be used as evidence at any time. Additionally, disclosed designs are locked and can not be altered.

In which countries is design protection valid?

A Community Design protects designs with in the complete area of the European Union, including Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Austria, Estonia, Hungary, but not in Switzerland. Additionally, the designer can apply for a US design patent.

Every designer from every country of the world can use in order to protect a design within the European Union.

How long is a disclosed design protected?

Protection lasts for 3 years from the point of disclosure. Within 12 months from the point of disclosure is it possible to extend the duration of protection by applying for a registered Community Design. The extended duration is 5 years and can be furthermore prolonged to a total of 25 years of protection.

Where can I get more information?

Extensive information about unregistered Community designs is available on the website of the Office for Harmonization for Trade Marks and Designs.