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EU Intellectual Property Legislation for Industrial Designs to be Modernised

EU Intellectual Property Legislation for Industrial Designs to be Modernised

European News 27/09/2023

Secerna LLP is pleased to provide insights into the recent developments in European intellectual property legislation related to the protection of industrial designs.

The European Council has taken significant steps towards modernising and adapting existing laws to meet the demands of the digital age and emerging technologies, such as 3D printing. This legislative update involves two key components: a Directive on the Legal Protection of Designs and a Regulation on Community Designs.


Background and Significance:

Design-intensive industries play a pivotal role in the European Union's economy, contributing nearly 16% to GDP and sustaining 14% of all jobs in the region. However, the existing legislation governing the protection of industrial designs in the EU was outdated, with the last major revisions dating back almost two decades.


The Proposed Legislation:

1. Directive on the Legal Protection of Designs: This directive outlines the legal framework for safeguarding industrial designs within the EU, setting clear rules and guidelines.

2. Regulation on Community Designs: This regulation pertains to the registration and protection of designs at the EU level.


Key Objectives of the Legislative Revision:

  • Enhanced Protection: The proposed changes aim to simplify and streamline the process of protecting industrial designs. By doing so, they empower designers and businesses to safeguard their creative works more efficiently.
  • Adaptation to the Digital Age: Recognising the transformative impact of digital technologies, the legislation seeks to update definitions to align with the digital era. For instance, terms like 'digital' are replaced with 'non-physical' to accommodate evolving technologies.
  • Flexibility for Designers: Designers will gain the flexibility to delay the publication of their designs for up to 30 months, allowing for strategic planning and market entry.
  • Efficient Resolution: Clearer rules for invalidating design rights and the introduction of administrative appeal procedures aim to facilitate dispute resolution without resorting to lengthy court proceedings.
  • Affordability: The legislation ensures that fees for national-only design protection remain cost-effective compared to European-level protection.
  • Integration with Copyright: Design protection and copyright can be combined, offering comprehensive protection options to creators.
  • Transitional Period Extension: Member states will have an extended 36-month period (up from 24 months) to implement the new legislation, providing ample time for necessary adjustments.


Next Steps:

The adoption of these positions by the European Council marks a critical milestone. It formalises the Council's stance and sets the stage for negotiations with the European Parliament. Once the European Parliament adopts its position, substantive negotiations will commence between the two institutions, shaping the future of design protection in the European Union.

Secerna LLP is committed to staying at the forefront of developments in intellectual property law and providing our clients with the latest insights and expert guidance in this evolving landscape. We will continue to monitor these legislative changes closely and offer strategic counsel to ensure that our clients can navigate these developments effectively.

For more information or legal guidance on intellectual property matters, please feel free to contact us. Our experienced team of IP professionals is ready to assist you.