The system of Community designs became operational on 1 April 2003. A single registration ensures protection across all Member States.Â
The legal basis is provided by the Regulation on Community designs (No 6/2002), and the system isÂ operated by the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market in Alicante.
The Regulation on Community designs also provides for an unregistered design right lasting for three years after a design is made available to the public. This is intended for industries which produce a large number of designs with a relatively short market life (para. 16 of the preamble to the Regulation).
Protection is assured across all Member States, but the rightholder must show that actual copying has occurred and not an innocent, independent work of creation [Art. 19(2)].