What do they protect?
The Regulations created two types of design protection. Both EU wide ie 27 member state protection
1. Unregistered designs which protect all new designs with individual character.
2. Registered designs which enable a design to achieve protection throughout the EU from a single application. A product covers an industrial or handicraft item. This protects “the appearance of the whole or part of the product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shapes, texture or materials of the product or its ornamentation”.
How long do they last for?
5 years, renewable up to 25 years from the date of registration. The owner is granted a monopoly an exclusive right to use the design and you can prevent the unauthorised copying from other parties. You will need to note that unregistered design protection covers only those results from actual copying of the design.
How do I apply?
For the Community Trade Mark protection you file an application via the Office of Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante Spain and use different designs but utilise the same class for the International Classification of Industrial Designs.
What if you need to keep the design confidential
No problem you can keep the terms confidential for up to 30 months