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COMMUNITY DESIGN

1. INTRODUCTION.
The Community Design makes it possible to obtain the protection of a two- or three-dimensional shape or graphic design in the 27 countries of the European Union through a single application, prosecution, grant and maintenance before the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

2. DESIGNATED COUNTRIES.
The current 28 Member States of the European Union are the following:

AUSTRIA
BELGIUM*
BULGARIA
CROATIA
CYPRUS
CZECH REPUBLIC
DENMARK
ESTONIA
FINLAND
FRANCE
GREECE
GERMANY
HUNGARY
ITALY

IRELAND
LATVIA
LITHUANIA
LUXEMBOURG*
MALTA
NETHERLANDS*
POLAND
PORTUGAL
ROMANIA
SLOVAKIA
SLOVENIA
SPAIN
SWEDEN
UNITED KINGDOM

* These three countries have a joint Design law under Benelux Designs.

3. ADVANTAGES OF THE COMMUNITY DESIGN.
Amongst others, the Community design has the following advantages:

1. The Community design originates from a single application which obviously implies lower costs both for the application and for its processing, management and maintenance.

2. The processing of a Community design is carried out in one language of the five official languages of EUIPO, which are Spanish, English, French, German and Italian.

3. In cases of Community design infringement, it is possible to initiate a single procedure before one single competent Community Design Court whose sentence must be enforced in all of the Member States of the European Union.

4. REQUIREMENTS.
In order for the Community design to be valid, it must fulfil the following requirements:

a. Novelty: it must not have been disclosed in the specialised circles of the Community.

b. Individual character (when the general impression produced on an informed user is different from that produced by prior designs).

5. GRACE PERIOD.
Disclosures of the design carried out by the creator during the 12 months prior to the application do not affect the novelty of the application.

6. PROSECUTION.
The grant procedure is very simple as no examination nor opposition by third parties are foreseen.
 

                                                  Application of Community Design

                                                                                 ↓

                                                  Examination on absolute grounds

                                                                                 ↓

                                                              Publication of grant

7. TERM OF PROTECTION.
The term of protection of a Community design is 5 years counting from the filing date and is renewable for up to a maximum of 25 years through the payment of a renewal fee every 5 years.

8. UNREGISTERED COMMUNITY DESIGNS.
As well as registered Community designs, unregistered protection can be obtained without the need for filing an application for a period of 3 years counting from the date on which the design is made public for the first time in the European Union. The protection of the unregistered Community design is less that of the registered Community design, not only in terms of duration, but also in terms of the scope of protection, as this only extends to copies.

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