WIPO Building

The European Commission announces a new measure for linking the EU Design registration with WIPO

A recent announcement by the Internal Market Services Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy confirms, new legislation will be in place to make it possible for European businesses to safeguard designs globally with less bureaucracy and reduced costs. This became effective on January 1 2008. At present, since April 2003, designers have been able to make one application to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market to register their designs in 27 members states for 25 years. The new announcement effectively means that businesses can ensure extension of their design protection to a total of 47 countries including the EU countires, through one single application with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation).

At present, a European design registration means that a company can register a new design and receive a numbered certificate, which confirms design ownership. If that company then experiences design right infringement and they are in possession of a European design registration, this gives them a monopoly right and they do not have to prove copying. A European Registered Community Design provides an IP owner with evidence of design ownership and provides compelling evidence to make enforcement easier and the legal route more simple and cost effective.

Dids Macdonald, ACIDs CEO, welcoming this new initiative said, “Clearly, with global copying on the increase, one registration through WIPO will ensure that many more markets are covered and creative businesses can rely on a far wider reach of protection. This, if communicated as part of a proactive design protection strategy, will also ensure that those companies who clarify their rights ownership globally, as well as strengthening their protection, may also attract inward investment and their own bottom line. However, if this to be effective protection, individual country cooperation is key and a standarised and effective exemplary damages system must be created within legislature to ensure that this new global mark is dissuasive and acts as a deterrent to those who perpetuate copying”.

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