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Protect your trade marks and designs in the European Union

Protect your intellectual property in the European Union


If you've got this far you'll know that registering a Community design is not like taxing a car. An RCD protects your creativity and enhances your presence in the market. However, the value of your design is not fixed – you must realise its potential. The more you put in, the more you get out.

The strategy you adopt to do this will be unique to you. It will reflect your company's wider interests and your intellectual property portfolio.


Publish your design

If you decided to defer publication of your design because you wanted to keep it secret from your competitors, don't forget that you will have to publish it some time if you want to reap the full benefits of registration. If you don't publish your design, it will be as if it never existed.

At the latest three months before the 30-month period expires (i.e. on the last day of the 27th month following the filing date or priority date, as appropriate), you must ask the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to publish your design. Obviously, you can also do this at any time before the 27-month period is up. When requesting publication, indicate also whether you want EUIPO to publish your design as soon as possible or not until the end of the deferment period. If you did not pay the publication fee at the time of filing, be sure to pay this as well when requesting publication.

The Office does not issue reminders of when the 27-month period expires. It is up to you to observe this time limit.

Expand your protection

Your IP strategy will evolve over the years and with it your need to expand. You may want to seek protection for your design outside the European Union (EU).

If you have already filed a registered Community design you can benefit from priority. You can use your RCD filing as a basis for another design application outside the EU. To do so you must apply for protection in another jurisdiction within six months of filing your RCD. If your claim for priority is accepted, your application will have priority over other applications filed during that six-month period.

However, for your priority claim to be accepted, your RCD application must be your first filing of the design.

To claim this priority, in some countries you will have to prove that you have filed a design with EUIPO. Some jurisdictions will accept a reference to our database, others might request a more official document that you can obtain via the inspection of file request. Note that some countries require authentication or legalisation of certified copies before they can accept them as a basis for a priority claim.

Some countries require authentication or legalisation of certified copies before they can accept them as the basis for a priority claim before their national office or as a basis for any other claim before their authorities.

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