Unregistered Community Design

Protection for unregistered community designs which were created after 6 March 2002, came into effect with the adoption, on 12 December 2001 of the Community designs Regulation.

The regulation introduced a protection called "Unregistered Community Design" which is a right that automatically comes into existence by the mere fact of making the products incorporating the designs available to the public (i.e. if the design has been published, exhibited, used in trade or otherwise disclosed in such a way that these events could reasonably have become known to the circles specialised in the sector concerned) within the Community.

The unregistered design right constitutes a vital element of protection for industries such as clothing and footwear. For example, the fashion industry, which renews their collections every season, can therefore be protected against counterfeiting and other infringing copies without the formality or costs involved for their designs in the entirety of the European Union.

The right is limited to three years and forbids the use of copies of original designs.