When can a registered Community design be declared invalid?

When can a registered Community design be declared invalid?

A registered Community design may be declared wholly or partially invalid on the following grounds:

  1. the design does not meet the requirements for protection (see What can be protected by a registered Community design?)
  2. a court has ruled that the proprietor is not entitled to the design
  3. the design conflicts with an earlier right such as copyright, a national design right or a right to prohibit the use of a sign under national or Community law
  4. the design constitutes improper use of a protected symbol

An application for a declaration of invalidity will be heard before the European Union Intellectual Property Office unless invalidity is raised as a counterclaim in infringement proceedings, in which case the matter will be heard before the relevant Community design court.

As a registered Community design is a unitary right covering the whole of the European Union, it will be declared invalid across all EU member states even if grounds for invalidity exist for only one or some member states. Unlike for European Union trade marks, there is no procedure to convert a registered Community design into national design applications in countries where there are no grounds for invalidity.

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