Design right and registration
Registered community designs
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.
Important: RCDs will continue to extend to the UK during the Brexit transition period until the end of 2020. Once this period expires, RCDs will no longer be valid in the UK. On 1 January 2021, the UK IPO will create comparable UK designs for all right holders with an existing RCD. These rights will be recorded on the UK register and treated as if they had been applied for and registered under UK law. Find guidance on registered community designs at the end of the transition period.
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.
Invest NI Helpline0800 181 4422
IPO Information Centre0300 300 2000