Planning to rely on unregistered Community design protection? Make sure you know where you stand

By Tristan Sherliker


Even since the Community Design Regulation came into force over 15 years ago, one important question has always lingered: can a design which is first disclosed outside the EU territory be protected by an unregistered Community design (UCD) right when it is subsequently disclosed within the EU? The UK court's recent reference to the CJEU may finally give us the answer…

Designers have some strong protection under EU/Community design law. New designs with individual character launched in the EU get immediate protection through the UCD right. It exists automatically, from the moment the design is made available to the public, and lasts for three years. Throughout that time, the designer is protected against any copying, anywhere in the EU. And as the name suggests, there's no need to register, making the UCD right free of formality and free of charge.

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