A Community design provides protection in all (currently 27) countries of the European Union. Community designs must, just like Benelux designs, be novel and have their individual character.
There are two types of Community designs: registered and unregistered Community designs.
Search for a design
You can check whether there is an identical or very similar design in specific countries using Designview. This is an online tool that you can use to search through all designs in the registers of the participating authorities, WIPO and EUIPO.
Registered Community designs
You can obtain this type of design right by registering your design with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which is located in Alicante, Spain.
Like Benelux designs, Community designs are registered for five years. The registration can be extended (renewed) by five-year periods, up to a maximum of 25 years in total. This is determined by law.
A Community design provides you with an exclusive right to:
- use the design: manufacture, provide, trade, sell, supply, lease, import, export, exhibit, use, or have in stock for one of these purposes;
- prohibit third parties from using the design without your authorisation.
If you apply for a design registration for the same design within six months of your first application in one of the countries that a party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property or are a member of the World Trade Organization, this later application can be given the same date as your first application. This is referred to as 'claiming priority' or right of priority.
Unregistered Community designs
This type of design right is not established by registration, but rather comes about automatically when you make a design available to the public. A design is protected as an unregistered Community design for a period of three years, running from the date when the design is first made available to the public within the EU.
A unregistered Community design gives you the right to prohibit third parties from using your design without your authorisation, but only if it is a case of counterfeiting (derivation).
The i-DEPOT can be a useful tool in this regard. You can use an i-DEPOT to prove that your creation already existed at a certain date. This is useful because if someone else claims that they devised the creation, the i-DEPOT can help you prove otherwise. More about i-DEPOT