Design right and registration

Registered community designs

Guide

A registered community design (RCD) enables you to register your design in a single application in all the member states of the European Union (EU).

It is a monopoly right which protects your design against copying and infringement for an initial term of five years, renewable up to a maximum of 25 years.

Protecting your designs in Europe

If you trade in a single EU country, you may want to register your design just in that territory. This would give you the exclusive rights within that country but it won't prevent anyone from copying your design in other EU countries.

If you do business in more than one EU country, it makes financial and practical sense to apply for a community design. The requirements for registration and the level of protection are broadly the same as for UK registered designs, but a registered community design extends across the entire EU.

From 1 January 2021, existing RCDs are no longer valid in the UK. These rights have been automatically replaced by equivalent UK rights, known as re-registered designs. For current information on these, see: changes to EU and international designs and trade mark protection from 1 January 2021.

How to apply for EU design registration

You can file applications for registered community designs at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). You have to make them within 12 months of the design first being made available to the public within the EU.

See how to register a design or read EUIPO's guidance on registered community designs.

For design protection overseas, see how to register designs internationally under the Hague System.