PROCEDURE FOR REGISTRATION OF EC INDUSTRIAL DESIGN
Filing an application for registration of Industrial Design of EU (RCD)
The application for a European Industrial Design includes: a request for registration of a RCD (Registered Community Design); the name and address of the applicant(s) of the design; at least 1 image (photographs or graphic images) up to a maximum of 7 pieces for a design; indication of the type of product according to the Locarno classification to which the designs refer; a document for the paid due fees is also attached. The applicants of European Industrial Designs (RCD) are given an opportunity, at their choice, to postpone the publication of the registration, that can be up to 30 months from the priority date of the entry of the application. This eventually is done in order they to keep their design secret from the competitors. In order the request for postponement of the publication in question to be done, additional fees are paid to the European Office EUIPO.
Formal check of the requirements and legal admissibility of the filed European Design (RCD)
At this stage, the basic requirements are checked to determine the date of submission (of priority) of the applications for European Design (RCD). Additionally, other essential elements related to the formal aspect of the European design application (Community design) may be considered. These include: the type and content of the filed designs; payment of due fees; the authorization of a European patent attorney; verification that the filed objects are considered as industrial designs (RCDs) as defined in the Regulation; whether they are not probably excluded from protection; and last but not least - the quality of the images of the designs. During the formal examination phase, EUIPO may request that some of the found irregularities in the submitted application for registration of European designs (RCD) be corrected. Eliminating such irregularities can prolong the procedure before the European Office EUIPO by a few weeks. It is important to note that EUIPO does not carry out an official examination (material expertise) for the existence of previously registered identical designs, that is eventually the responsibility of the applicants. However, it is checked whether the criteria for novelty and originality of the submitted for registration Industrial Designs of the EU (RCD) are met. As in the event of a dispute or a request for cancellation, the assessment of lack of novelty and/or originality is made on the basis of the evidence provided by third interested parties, offering products with identical designs (packaging, labels, etc.) on the market.
Any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that his rights will be infringed in connection with a newly registered European design (RDC) can defend his legal interests in the ways stipulated by the European regulation.
Registration of an Industrial Design of EU (RCD) and issuance of a protection document (certificate)
If no irregularities are found at the stage of the formal expertise, the application for a European design (RCD) is considered admissible. This allows the design of E.U. (RCD) to be registered. Immediately thereafter, it is published and entered in the European Register of Industrial Designs (RCD) at EUIPO. An electronic certificate for registration of a European Industrial Design (RCD) is issued to the applicants. The acquired protection is for an initial period of 5 years, which starts from the priority date of the submission of the application to the European Office EUIPO.
A request for postponement of the publication of a EU registered design (RCD)
A possibility is regulated, the applicants of European Designs (RCD) to be able to request a postponement of the publication of the designs for a period of up to 30 months from the date of the entry of the application (priority date). This is done in order to keep secret from the competitors, the vision of the filed designs. It is applicable only if such a request is submitted at the same time as the application for European Industrial Design (RCD), and the request for publication of the application for registration of the Industrial Design of E.U. (RCD) should be submitted by the 27th month from the date of submission of the application and the respective publication fees are to be paid.
Protection and monitoring of a registered design of EU.(RCD)
Following the successful completion of the procedure for registration of the European Design (RCD), for the holders arise both absolute rights and certain obligations. That is - to protect their exclusive rights, because sanctions cannot be applied to potential infringers
ex officio by the European Office EUIPO. The attempts to register identical designs and those with a high degree of similarity, as well as the use in the trade turnover of these objects of Industrial property, should be constantly monitored and stopped in time so as not to damage the good name and reputation of the owners, as well as to avoid financial losses. Therefore, the applicants are responsible for the protection of their registered objects of Industrial Property (EUTM or RCD), using effective methods to monitor and identify counterfeiters and imitators, as well as to take timely legal action against them. The monitoring of already registered designs of E.U. (RCD) saves a lot of time and financial resources that have already been invested in creating the image of the product on the European market.
Renewal of the term of protection of a European Design (RCD)
The initial protection that comes with the registration of a European Design (RCD) is 5 years, which runs from the priority date of submission of the application to the European Office EUIPO. The regulation allows the registration to be renewed for 4 consecutive periods of 5 years, ie. it may reach a maximum of 25 years from the established date of entry. A necessary condition is the due fees for each subsequent renewal of the term of protection of the designs of the EU (RCD) to be paid in a timely manner within the specified period. The principle of a progressive increase of the amount of fees has been adopted. It is important to note that the omission of the deadline for renewal of the European Design Registration (RCD) can be restored within 6 months after the expiration of the specified term with the payment of an additional fee. However, the delay of this additional 6 months deadline leads to the final termination of the registration of the EU design (RDC) and suspension of its action regarding third parties on the territory of the EU. After this period, any interested person (natural or legal) will have the possibility to use the objects of the already expired European Industrial Design (RCD) on the territory of each Member State of the European Union, thus not infringing anyone's rights.
Consequences of the expiry of the term for protection of a registered European Industrial Design (RCD)
After the expiration of the registration period (max. 25 years) of the EU design (RCD), its object becomes available for use in the trade turnover by any person on the territory of the EU.