A Community design offers protection for all (currently 28) countries of the European Union. There are two types of Community design:
- Registered Community designs;
- Unregistered Community designs.
Both are governed by Council Regulation 6/2002 on Community Designs (the Community Designs Regulation). Like Benelux designs, Community designs must be new and have individual character.
Registered Community designs
This type of design right is acquired by registering a design at the European Union International Property Office (EUIPO), which is based in Alicante, Spain. Like Benelux designs, Community designs are registered for five years and can be renewed for five-year periods up to a maximum of 25 years.
The Community design provides the holder with:
- an exclusive right to use the design. This covers manufacturing, providing, trading, selling, supplying, leasing, importing, exporting, exhibiting, or keeping the design in stock for these purposes;
- the right to prohibit third parties from using the design without authorisation.
Unregistered Community designs
This type of design right arises automatically when the design is placed in the public domain. A design is protected as an unregistered Community design for a period of three years from the date on which the design was first placed in the public domain in the European Union.
The unregistered Community design provides the holder with:
- the right to prohibit the same acts as those prohibited by the registered Community design, provided that the protected design has been counterfeited (derivation).
An i-DEPOT could be a useful way of proving that a design already existed on a given date. More about i-DEPOT