Community Industrial Design (RCD)


Industrial design protection in the European Union -

Industrial design protection can be acquired in all member states of the European Union

using a unified, quick, simple and cost-effective procedure by filing application for Registered Community Design (RCD) at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

Its considerable advantage is the territorial protection which extends to the entire territory of the European Union (all 28 member states) in a market of almost 500 000 000, in combination with a single, fast and cost-effective procedure, subject to uniform requirements for industrial design registration and also using a single administrative institution that registers European Union Designs, namely the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) located in Alicante, Spain. EUIPO’s centralised and thus cost-effective and time-saving EU design registration procedure may be conducted in the official languages of any EU member states in combination with either one of – English, French,German, Spanish or Italian.


It should be noted that contrary to the European Union Trademarks, the officially acclaimed terminology for European Union Industrial Designs is Registered Community Design (RCD). However, for readers’ convenience and understanding we will also refer to it as European Union or EU Industrial Design.


A registered EU industrial design has unitary character which means that European design applicants can only receive protection for all member states of the European Union and cannot arbitrary select particular countries of interest. Hence, in each EU member state the EU design registration gives its proprietor the same rights as would be conferred by a national industrial design registration in that country, i.e. by a registered Bulgarian Industrial Design.



European Union or Community design’s procedure  is an open filing design system, which means that any person from any country in the world may file a application for Community Design, irrespective of whether he is a national of or has his residence or place of business in a country member of the EU. However, if the EU design applicant does not have his place of business, a real and effective establishment or his domicile in the European Economic Area, he must appoint European Design Attorney for all proceedings before EUIPO. The European Economic Area (EEA) is made up of the 28 Member States of the European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.




Registered Community Designs (RCD) protect the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation. Such products may be any products of industry, fashion and handicrafts from technical and medical instruments to watches, jewelry, and other luxury items; from household products, toys, furniture and electrical appliances to cars and architectural structures; from textile designs to sports equipment. Industrial design is also important in relation to packaging, containers and “get–up” of products. The EU design must have novelty and individual character. Novelty should be absolute novelty, namely worldwide novelty.


What rights are conferred by the Community Design Registration?


A registered Community design shall confer on its holder the exclusive right to use it and to prevent any third party not having his consent from using it. The aforementioned use shall cover, in particular, the making, offering, putting on the market, importing, exporting or using of a product in which the design is incorporated or to which it is applied, or stocking such a product for those purposes.




The term of validity of a registered European Union Design is 5 years as from the date of filing of the European Industrial design application.The Registrations may be renewed for four subsequent periods of five years, up to a total of 25 years.


Protection of designs in all EU countries can be derived from two possible ways, either by filing a direct application for Registration of Community Industrial Design (RCD) or by application for Registration of International Industrial Design designating EU. No matter which routes are taken, assistance, advice and close collaboration with a Qualified European Design Attorney is highly recommended and in some cases, as stated above, even obligatory.



* REMARKS: 1) This is an approximate time scale calculated as from the filing date; 2) Attorney fees are not included and all official fees are tentative

Filing of application for Community Design Registration


The application for EU design registration consists of: a request for the registration of European industrial design; the name and address of the design applicant; representations of the design which can be represented in the form of black and white line drawings, images or photographs, but maximum 7 different views; an indication of the type of products to which the design will be applied. The Official fees due at the filing stage amount to 350 EUR and cover 1 design only. In case of filing a multiple application, additional fee of 175 EUR is also levied for each design between the 2nd and 10th, and 80 EUR for the 11th and each subsequent design. Applicants for design registrations also have the option for deferment of the publication of the registration up to 30 months from the filing date, priority date, in order to keep the design secret from the competitors. If such request for deferment of the publication has been made, additional fees of 40 EUR must be paid for applications containing 1 design only, and for each subsequent design in a multiple application additional fee of 20 EUR for each design between the 2nd and 10th, and 10 EUR for the 11th and each subsequent design are also levied by EUIPO.

Examination of Filing, Formal and Substantive Requirements

1-2 DAYS

The requirements for according a filing date are assessed during this stage.Additionally, certain formal and substantive aspects of the Community design application are examined, including the form and content of the design application, payment of the design filing fees; the appointment of a European Design Attorney; check whether the declared design is considered to be design under the law and is not excluded from protection; the images of the design are also carefully examined. During this stage the examiners can object against some deficiencies like the quality of the images. These deficiencies might slightly prolong the procedure. However, no search is made of the prior art to determine whether the substantive criterion of novelty or originality is satisfied by the design for which registration is sought. Generally speaking, the burden of assessing novelty and originality is shifted to those interested persons in the market who may wish to use, or who may have used, the design or a substantially similar design. Any person interested in using such a design will have the opportunity of bringing proceedings for the cancellation of the registration which it is alleged as invalid.

Registration and issuance of Community Design Registration Certificate

1-2 DAYS

If no deficiencies are found or raised in the previous step, the EU design application for registration is considered allowable. Subsequently, the Community Design is registered, published as registered in the Community Designs Bulletin and entered in the registers of the Community Designs. The EU design owner is then issued a soft copy of RCD design registration certificate. The design owner acquires protection for a period of 5 years calculated as of the date of filing.

Request for publication if deferred


The applicant for a Community design may request, when filing the application, that the publication of the design, if registered, be deferred for a period of 30 months from the date of filing of the application or from the date of priority in order to keep it secret from competitors. Provided such request has been filed together with the EU design application,a request for publication of the design registration shall be filed by the holder of the design before the 27th month from the filing date of the application and shall be accompanied by the payment of fees for publication.

EU Design Monitoring and Enforcement


The Community Design Registration is not an end in itself. EU design owner must be his own policemen and safeguards his exclusive rights because they are not automatically applied to infringers. The market use and/or attempts for registrations of identical or essentially similar design by your competitors must constantly be monitored and subsequently enforced in order to avoid financial loss and/or harming your reputation. In other words, you are responsible for monitoring the use of your design in the marketplace, identifying any imitators or counterfeiters<br /> and deciding whether, how and when to take action against them.The design monitoring and enforcement protect the time and money you have invested in building your business image on the market.

Community Design Renewals


The provisional validity obtained from the Community design registration is 5 years from the filing date of the EU design application. The registration may be renewed for 4 consecutive periods of 5 years, maximum 25 years as from the filing date, provided the design renewal fees are duly paid before expiration of each subsequent 5 year period. The costs for Community Design Renewal amount to 90 EUR for first renewal; 120 EUR for second renewal, 150 EUR for third renewal and 180 EUR for fourth renewal per design, included or not in a multiple registration. Missing the deadline for design renewals can be remedied within 6 months following the term of expiry and by paying a surcharge. Missing this period will have the effect that the registration of Community Design has expired, thus the legal protection terminated and anyone may use it in any country of the European Union without infringing any rights outstanding.

Community Design expires


After expiry of the design, the subject matter of the design is then available for commercial exploitation by anyone in the EU.

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