Insights EU designs law: EU Parliament and Council reach provisional agreement


The EU Designs Directive (98/71/EC) harmonised requirements for registered design protection in the European Economic Area. The Community Designs Regulation (6/2002/EC) (“CDR”) created a regime for protecting designs throughout the EU, similar to the EU trade mark, by creating a system of registration administered by the EUIPO. It also created a system for the protection of unregistered Community design right, a right which automatically comes into existence by making products incorporating the design available to the public within the EU. The substantive provisions of the CDR reflect those of the Directive.

In November 2022, the Commission published proposals to modernise designs law by proposing several changes to the Directive and the CDR (including renaming Registered and Unregistered Community Designs as Registered and Unregistered EU Designs). Details of the Commission’s proposals and the subsequent amendments proposed by the EU Parliament and Council were previously reported by Wiggin here and here.

Following a short period of negotiation (trilogues), on 5 December 2023 the EU Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on the proposals. The compromise text is not yet available. However, according to reports, the co-legislators have agreed clarifications to the right to repair and have added the right to repair to the Directive (it was previously included only in the CDR) so there is alignment between the European designs system, covered by the CDR, and national systems, covered by the Directive. Reports also suggest the co-legislators have specified a harmonised transition period of eight years for the right to repair (the original proposal specified ten). Other changes include increasing the fees for registering and renewing an EU registered design, excluding protection for cultural heritage elements of a design, and setting the period in which the Directive must be implemented by Member States at 36 months (the original proposal specified 24 months).

Once the wording of the texts is finalised, the provisional agreement will need to be formally adopted by the EU Parliament and Council.

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