UK: First disclosure of designs – choose carefully

Ewan Grist considers the important questions that courts in both the EU and UK need to answer for their unregistered design regimes.

One of the enduring peculiarities of the unregistered Community design regime, introduced almost 20 years ago by the Community Design Regulation 6/2002, is that one fundamental question remains unanswered: where a design is first disclosed outside of the EU, is that design still capable of attracting unregistered Community design (UCD) protection, or does that first non-EU disclosure destroy the novelty of any subsequent EU disclosure, such that UCD cannot arise in the first place?

This matters because EU and non-EU businesses frequently need to first exhibit their new products at trade fairs or other events outside of the EU. Given the importance of UCD protection, it is of considerable surprise that this question still remains unanswered by the CJEU.

Read the full article, first published by Managing IP online in May 2021, here.

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