Insights IP Federation publishes response to EU Commission’s Inception Impact Assessment in relation to its review of the Design Directive (98/71/EC) and Community Design Regulation (6/2002/EC).


The response states that IP Federation members believe that “on very many measures, the EU design regime has been an unqualified success since its relatively recent inception”.

According to the Federation, there has already been a significant convergence between EU Member States in the area of designs law, which in combination with the Community Design regime has brought about significant benefits. Thus the IP Federation believes that any changes to the regime to achieve the proposed objectives should, where possible, be achieved by improved guidance and cooperation between the offices rather than legislative interventions.

On modernisation, clarification and strengthening of design protection, the Federation does not believe that there is any major unclarity in the existing legislation as to what can be protected as a design (e.g. the protectability of digital graphical user interfaces or interior design). It proposes addressing any need to further clarify the protected subject matter through improved guidance rather than a change in legislation. It supports broadening the scope of design rights conferred to better fight against counterfeit goods in transit and sees this as an area where legislative change would be desirable. As for clarifying the interlink between design and copyright protection, the IP Federation is in favour of demarcation between design rights and copyright to, for example, avoid copyright extending to technical subject matter.

As for improving accessibility and affordability of design protection in the EU, the Federation fully supports streamlining and simplifying procedures to facilitate the simple filing of all design types, including in multiple form. In particular the Federation supports the lifting of any cap on the number of representations that may be included in an application for a registered community design.

On ensuring enhanced interoperability of design protection systems in the EU, the Federation would welcome any streamlining and simplifying of procedures to bring national design systems in greater harmonisation with each other and with the Community-level system. It would, however, be strongly opposed to any harmonisation that would lead to protection of technical function by designs

Finally, on completing the single market for spare parts, the Federation is in favour of further harmonisation of national law insofar as it relates to introducing a repair clause into the Directive. Any changes to bring greater harmonisation should not lead to protection of technical function by designs. To read the full response, click here.