INTRODUCTION TO EUROPEAN UNION (EU) COMMUNITY DESIGN RESOURCES AND ANALYSIS UPDATED PERIODICALLY.

I. Summary
  A.  Office of EU Trademark and Design (EU-TM/D Office) resources (link:  http://oami.eu.int/)

          1.  Community Design Main Page with all resources listed (link:  http://oami.eu.int/en/design/default.htm

          2.  Press releases (important news and conveniently arranged for access)(link:  http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p_action.gettxt=gt&doc=MEMO/03/77|0|RAPID&lg=EN; ).

          3.  Bulletins (registered Community Designs and post registration information).  These files are very large and difficult to down load.  Each file has the text in several languages; separate files by language would be very useful.  PDF files are
  available.  Provision for locating a specific design by registration number and owner would be useful (link:  http://oami.eu.int/en/design/bull.htm).

          4.  Community Design application forms (fill out on line, but they cannot be sent in electronically) (link:  http://oami.eu.int/en/design/practical.htm#10).

           5.  Classification finder (quick way to find the Lacarno classification for the application) (Link:  http://oami.eu.int/en/design/eurolocarno.htm).

          6.  Draft of Application Exam guidelines (very useful) (Link:  http://oami.eu.int/en/design/pdf) (This document was not available on the web site on 6/3/2003).

          7.  Legal texts (Directive and Regulation) (Link:  http://oami.eu.int/en/design/legalaspects.htm).
 

II..  Outline of practical examples for EU Community Design use by businesses.

 A.  Unregistered Protection when product becomes public.  When products are introduced into the EU, and made public, there may be a level of design protection against copying without registration, if the design is novel and distinctive. This protection lasts for three years.  The benefit of this market entry protection is that competitors are encouraged to create their own, distinct designs.  A level of fair competition is established.

 B.  Time to gather marketing data before seeking the stronger rights of a registration.  A business has one year to make the decision whether to obtain a registration.  The application must be filed within one year of when the product becomes public.  This almost one year delay in expending the money for registration filing offers the design owner important time to gain data on a design's market effectiveness before making the filing decision.

 C.  Registration has additional benefits.  The registration offers added benefits, including up to 25 years of exclusive protection from the date the product become public.  An infringement may occur whether a product design has been copied. or was created independently.  The general infringement test of whether there is a substantially identical appearance is used.  .

 D.  Limitations on what is protected.  There are the traditional limitations to protect only the product appearance not essential to building a comparably functioning product.  In addition, the issue of protecting certain spare parts to repair a product was not resolved.  The national design laws remain applicable to the spare parts, so that protection may occur in some EU countries and not in other EU countries.
 
 

III.  History and articles on the EU Community Design

 A.  Publication to be posted.  In the near future an article on the history of the EU Community Design will be posted on this page.  The paper will be given at the American Bar Association, Section of Intellectual Property Law, annual meeting in San Diego, CA, on June 18-22, 2003, and it will be published first in the proceedings of that conference..
 
 
 

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This page was last updated on June 4, 2003

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