The Community design or model is effective in the 28 countries of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Hungary.
Furthermore, the Community design or model is of unitary nature, i.e. it has the same effects throughout the European Union. In particular, registration, transfer, waiver, invalidity ruling and prohibition of use of a product reproducing a Community design or model, carried out in any State of the European Union, also applies in all other States of the European Union.
In the European Union, the appearance of a product considered in its entirety or in part can be protected by filing a Community design and model application, provided that it meets the registrability requirements or it is new and has individual character.
A single application suffices to apply for the registration of multiple designs (so-called multiple registration) provided that they are substantially homogeneous with each other or entered into the same class of the Locarno designs and models international applications.
Besides registration and publication fees, the multiple application shall be subject to the payment of surcharges for each design or model subsequent to the first.
Designs and models can be registered if new and have an individual character.
In particular, a design or model is new if no identical design or model has been disclosed prior to the date of filing of the registration application.
Furthermore, a design or model has an individual character if it is capable of producing in the informed user a general impression different from that produced by other designs and models already disclosed.
Novelty is not affected:
- disclosure of the design by the author, if the latter occurs within 12 months from the date of such disclosure;
- Disclosure that cannot reasonably be known to the specialised circles in the industry in question during normal business within the European Union.
WHAT CANNOT BE REGISTERED
The following cannot be registered as Community designs and models:
- the characteristics of the appearance of the product which are determined solely by the technical function of the product;
- the characteristics of the appearance of the product which are not visible in normal use of the product;
- spare parts, i.e. characteristics of the appearance of the product which must necessarily be reproduced in their exact shapes and sizes in order to enable the product in which the design is incorporated or applied to be joined or connected with another product;
- designs or models, whose use would create grounds of breach of a trademark or work of ingenuity protected by copyright.
WHO CAN REGISTER A DESIGN OR MODEL IN THE EUROPEAN UNION?
The author of the design or model or the successors thereof have the right to registration. If the Community design or model is the result of the work of several authors, each of the latter has the right to registration jointly.
Any natural or legal person can register a Community design or model.
DESIGN OR MODEL REGISTRATION PROCEDURE
The Community design or model registration application is filed before the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) based in Alicante (Spain), or at the Central industrial property office of a member state of the European Union, for example at the Italian Patent and Trademarks Office (UIBM).
The Community design or model can be registered in any of the following languages: French, English, Italian, Spanish and German.
OHIM verifies whether formal and registrability requirements are met, but it does not conduct an examination on the merits of the registrability requirements.
After registration, the OHIM publishes the Community design or model in the Community design and model Bulletin. Furthermore, after publication, the OHIM grants the proprietor a Community design or model registration certificate.
The duration of registration of a Community design or model is renewable up to a maximum of 25 years, by paying a maintenance fee at the end of each five-year period.
Priority may be claimed for the first prior design or model application filed in a Member State of the Paris Convention, within 6 months from the date of the aforementioned first application.