Community Designs

UDR has been available since 6th March, 2002 and grants automatic protection for three years from the date on which the design is first made available to the public within the EU. It prevents unauthorised copying. RCD on the other hand protects the user for 25 years (renewable every five years).

The Community Design Regulation are worthy of note particulary for the fashion industry because of the following:-

1. The design is defined widely in that it protects “the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation” (Article 3(a)).

2. The term “product” includes not only industrial or mass-produced items but also handicraft items (Article 3(b)).

However designers should be aware that a design will only be protected where they are  “new” and has “individual character” (Article 4(1)).

What is new will be based on there being no identical design first being made available to the public before its filing or priority date, or in the case of an URD the date on which the design was first made available to the public.

What is identical means any designs unless their features differ only in immaterial details (Article 5). The crucial question in relation to design is whether a different overall impression is created by the two designs.Â

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