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Prosecution of the registered Community design

The requirements for the protection by the Registered Community Design right are that

- it must be new at the filing date (Article 5 ) or at the priority right ; and

- the design must have an individual character (Article 6).

The disclosure by the creator himself is opposable if it has occurred more than one year before the filing (grace period provided for by Article 8).

However, a disclosure does not destroy the novelty nor the individual character when it concerns designs which "could not reasonably have become known in the normal course of business to the circles specialised in the sector concerned, operating within the Community".

The components parts of a complex product are protected only if both requirements (novelty and individual character) are fulfilled. Furthermore, they have to remain visible by the final observer (Article 4).

Detached parts: an isolated part is not protected if its shape is dictated by the whole product.

Prosecution

As for the Community mark, the filing of a Community design involves the choice of two languages : the first one is selected among the 22 official languages of the European Community and the second one among the 5 official languages of the Office for the Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), i.e. English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

For the inter partes prosecutions (cancellation procedures), the plaintiff can use one of the two languages used by the applicant. The applicant may respond in the other chosen language without having to provide any translation contrary to the Community mark prosecution. It will therefore fall to the Office to translate the applicant's argumentation into the prosecution language (a maximum fee will probably be established for the cost of the translation taken over).

The OHIM does not undertake any examination on the merits; there is no opposition prosecution but a cancellation proceeding is possible, without any time limit after the publication.

The design is registered for a period of 5 years which may be renewed for one or more periods of five years each, up to a total term of 25 years (Articles 13 and 54).

Time scales involved in the registration process

We file the applications online and therefore immediately receive the application number. The publication notification is received within 1 week and the certificate is received within 2 or 3 weeks from the filing.