Evaluation of EU legislation on design protection
This evaluation provides an in depth assessment of an overall functioning of the design protection system within the European Union and also in Portugal.
European Union law regarding design protection aims to create a single market and a fair competition system for the products which are part of the design, thus providing an effective protection to such products and promoting innovation.
The increase on the number of applications for design lodged at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) proves the success of the community design system and the growing attention that companies pay to the protection of their products.
A recent study showed that the community design protection system may be underestimated, in part due to a lack of awareness among the target audience (companies and designers). This study also revealed that legislation for community design is not fully adapted to the digital age (e.g. there are uncertainties regarding the possibility to protect graphical user interfaces or icons as designs, the possibility to file not only static, but also dynamic views of designs, the scope of design rights and the scope of private use limitation in the context of 3D printing).
On the other hand, the regulation has been visibly effective as regards the access to design protection, given that obtaining a design valid throughout the entire EU is, undoubtedly, more affordable.
The evaluation exposed some deficiencies, as for example the unclear definitions on the coverage of protection; an outdated procedural system for representing products and the differences between Member States procedural rules and those of the regulation (such differences have a negative impact in the coherence of the protection systems to the project in the EU and lead to uneven access levels in terms of delays, complexity and costs) for the applicants.