The application for the registration of a design of the European Union can be carried out by any physical person or legal entity at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Alicante or at the UIBM in Rome.
In the case of first filing, within 6 months from the date of filing, the application can be extended to one of the member states of the Convention of Paris claiming priority of the first application for design of the European Union and allowing the rights of design in the foreign country to be calculated from the filing date of the national application.
The application for design is not examined and is published in the Bulletin of European Community models and designs.
The design must have absolute novelty, unlike utility models, however, there is a period of grace that allows only the author of the design to disclose it and within 12 months to proceed with the application for registration.
It is also possible to file various designs and models with the same application provided they form part of the same product class relating to the Locarno International Classification.
At a European level, there is no provision for any opposition procedure for designs.
After the examination, the design is granted but its exclusive rights can be implemented as of the filing date.
A European design has a maximum duration of 25 years with renewal periods of five years.
The design can be exploited through licensing agreements, sales contracts or used as security right; furthermore, a customs supervision can be implemented as of the design application, by filing an application for intervention at the customs office that will inform the patent holder of any transiting of suspected goods.
Protection is also provided for an unregistered design that lasts three years from the date of disclosure.
The registration of a design of the European Union jointly protects the Design in all countries of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Rep., Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Hungary.