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Designs in the European Union

The European Union Design System

A design generally means the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation.

A product can be defined as any any industrial or handmade item,, including inter alia parts intended to be assembled into a complex product, packaging, get-up, graphic symbols and typographic typefaces, but excluding computer programs.

Said design can be protected by an unregistered or registered Community design (RCD) to the extent that it is new and has individual characteristics.

What is the registered Community design?

A registered Community design is a unitary industrial design right that covers the European Union. In particular, the rights to exclude a third party from commercial exploitation of a product of the same appearance.

A Community design shall have a unitary character. It shall have equal effect throughout the EU.

Why should I register my design?

A design of a product often plays a key role in market success.

Design protection confers on the design holder an exclusive right to use a design-making, offering, putting on the market, importing, exporting or use of the product in which the design is incorporated or to which it is applied and to prevent third parties from using it commercially without prior consent.

Enforcement of registered industrial design is easier than an unregistered one.

What is the procedure to register your design?

There is a unified system for obtaining a Community design.

Once received at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), your application will be checked by examiners.

The unitary procedure brings benefits such as one language proceeding, one payment, and an application may be a multiple application requesting the registration of several designs.

Formality check

All applications go through a formalities check. When an examiner detects a problem, it is communicated to an applicant or representative for remedies. They are normally normally given two months to respond to the examiner’s objection.

Substantive examination

EUIPO’s substantive examination is limited to two issues:

Is your design a design as defined within Article 3(a) CDR?

Does the design contain an element that goes against public policy and morality?


All registered Community designs are published in the Community Designs Bulletin, which is published in electronic format only on the office’s website.

Issuing a registration certificate

A registration certificate is issued online after the registered Community design has been published in full.

Cost of registration of Community design

Official fee

350 EUR per single EU design

50 EUR for each additional design following the 10th design

Attorney fee

Filing and representation starting at 300 EUR.

Search for novelty and individual character starting at 200 EUR.

Term and Scope of Protection of the registered Community design

A registered Community design grants a proprietor exclusive rights in all current and future Member States of the European Union through a single registration, filed online. It is valid for 5 years and it can be renewed for a maximum of 25 years, 5 years at a time.

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