Designers should consider applying for a Community registered design to protect their work.
A Community registered design will give the design far greater protection than was available previously. Community designs will not only cover designs that have traditionally received legal protection (i.e. in the UK by copyright, design right, registered designs and, in some instances, by trade marks) but will also extend to a whole range of new designs. This is because the Regulation defines a “Design” as “the appearance of the whole or 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.” This covers virtually any aspect of a design, irrespective of aesthetic quality. “Product” is defined as “any industrial or handicraft item … including packaging, get-up and graphic symbols ….”
The Community registered design will protect the designer for any design “which does not produce on the informed user a different overall impression.” So, the designer may be protected for not only the registered design but also for similar designs. This also means that if a third party was to start producing a design that was very similar to the registered design, the designer will be protected and will be able to commence design infringement proceedings against that third party.
Lastly, there is no territorial restriction on who is eligible to obtain Community design protection and there is the possibility of bringing a single set of proceedings to obtain EU-wide protection against an infringer.