On 21 October 2002 the European Commission adopted the Commission Regulation implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 6/2002 on community designs.
The adoption of this Regulation constitutes another step towards setting up a user-friendly system for registering Community designs. It implements the Community Design Regulation adopted by the Council in December 2001 and gives the Office for the Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) the administrative tools it needs to operate the necessary procedure, such as registration and cancellation of designs, smoothly and efficiently.
The Community Design Regulation(1), adopted in December 2001 (see SMN 29), introduced a single Community system for the protection of designs by setting out a simple and inexpensive procedure for registering designs with the OHIM in Alicante (registered Community designs) and the possibility to protect designs under certain conditions without registration (unregistered Community design).
The unregistered Community design has been a reality since 6 March 2002. Any design disclosed under the conditions established by the Regulation after this date may be protected as an unregistered Community design. However the registered Community design requires further preparations and a more developed legal framework to permit the OHIM to perform its task of registering designs. This legal framework is established by the main Regulation, the Community design Regulation, and completed by the Implementing Regulation and the Fees Regulation.
The implementing Regulation, which has now been formally adopted by the Commission, contains 87 Articles. They establish the administrative rules concerning procedures for the application, registration, renewal, invalidity proceedings, appeals, etc… of registered Community designs. This Regulation has been aligned as far as possible with the implementing Regulation on the Community Trademark(2) so as to ensure that the registration procedures dealt with by the OHIM are as coherent and convenient as possible for future clients of the system.
Following the adoption of this Regulation, the only remaining step before the OHIM can begin to register designs is the setting of fees. It is expected that the Commission will be able to adopt the Fees Regulation by the end of
(1) Council Regulation (EC)
No 6/2002 of 12 December 2001on Community designs (OJ EC No L 3, 05.01.2002, p.1)
(2) Commission Regulation (EC) No 2868/95 of 13 December 1995 implementing Council Regulation (EC) 40/94 on the Community trade mark (OJ EC No L 303, 15.12.1995, p. 1)
|Council Regulation 6/2002 on the Community design, creates a unified system for obtaining a design right with uniform effect throughout the entire territory of the Community. This system of protection, which fully complies with the Directive, exists in parallel with national designs, thus providing designers the possibility of protecting their designs under the national systems or under the Community one.
| Council Directive 98/71 on Legal protection of designs provides for the harmonisation of design protection in the European Union so as to ensure that citizens have the same level of protection, under the same conditions, irrespective of the Member State in which they are seeking to protect a registered design. In particular the Directive:
The Directive also excludes from patenting on ethical grounds certain applications such as processes for cloning human beings or modifying their genetic identity, the use of human embryos for industrial purposes and processes for modifying the genetic identity of animals which may cause them suffering without substantial medical benefits.
- defines what constitutes a "design";
- establishes the criteria for protection;
- fixes the duration of protection (minimum of 5 years and maximum of 25 years);
- fixes the scope of protection;
- establish limits to the design right;
- establishes rules on the nullity of the registration of
The full text of the Regulation can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/en/indprop/design/index.htm
Victor Sáez López-Barrantes
DG Internal Market - E.2
Tel.: + 32 (0) 2 296 85 76
Fax.: + 32 (0) 2 299 31 04