Design Protection in the European Union

Design Protection in the European Union

It is possible to protection for designs by way of an application for registered Community design right. This is a single cost-effective right covering the entire EU. After 31 December 2020, the registered Community design right will not cover the UK.

There is also an unregistered Community design right. This is also a single right covering the whole of the European Union. It arises automatically and applies to the same type of designs that can be protected by registered Community designs. However, it provides more limited protection in that (1) it only affords protection against copies of a design, not designs created independently, without copying, (2) it can be more difficult and expensive to enforce and (3) it lasts for a shorter length of time.

As well as these EU-wide rights, member states still have their own national protection for designs.

In practice, national registered and unregistered rights can coexist with registered and unregistered Community rights, and so a design may be protected by a number of different rights. We can advise on which rights will be relevant to a particular product or design.

Related articles