Registration as a three dimensional trade mark protects the distinctiveness of the sign compared to the other existing signs in use for the same products or services, whereas a design protects the novelty and the individual character of a product.
A new or very unusual or original shape will not be registered as a CTM if it does not comply with the condition of being distinctive as regards the products or services which have been applied for. A product with a design that has been marketed for years before the application for registration will be registered but could be invalidated by any interested third party because of its lack of novelty.
Indeed, the characteristic of novelty does not apply to trade marks and the characteristic of distinctiveness does not apply to designs.
A trade mark has no time limit (it can be renewed indefinitely for periods of ten years) whereas a registered Community design has a maximum of 25 years’ duration from the date of application for registration
For more information on protecting your design in the EU, please contact this office.