Revision of Directive 98/71/EC on the legal protection of designs and of Regulation (EC) No 6/2002 on Community designs

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Series Details PE 730.318
Publication Date May 2022
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There are two types of intellectual property rights (IPRs): industrial property, which includes patents, trademarks, industrial designs and models, and designations of origin; and copyright, which includes artistic and literary property. Directive 98/71/EC on the legal protection of designs and Regulation (EC) 6/2002 on Community designs are the backbone of EU law on Community designs.

The directive set up the underlying principles for a harmonised legal framework, so that the conditions for obtaining protection of registered designs became equivalent in all Member States. Shortly afterwards the regulation was adopted to complement national systems, establishing an EU autonomous unitary system and, along with registered Community designs (RCDs), creating a new protection regime for unregistered Community designs (UCDs). The Community design system is conceived to be easily accessible and affordable for all design rights holders throughout the EU.

The CDL has proven its effectiveness in design protection and has helped to foster innovation and competition in this field (more than 1.4 million designs had been filed by the end of 2019 and more than 813 000 RCDs were in force on 1 January 2020, with an increase of 6.5 % annually between 2003 and 2019). In contrast, failure to apply the same protection to spare part designs resulted in adverse consequences on the single market where there is no uniform system. Furthermore, with rapid technological progress and the green transition, the legislation needs to be modernised in order to retain its added value.

This implementation appraisal looks at the practical implementation of Community design legislation in light of the expected Commission proposal for its revision.

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This briefing is one in a series of implementation appraisals produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) on the operation of existing EU legislation in practice.

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