Legal Certainty
In the event of legal action to defend their designs against infringement, the owners of unregistered Community designs must be able to prove the following to third parties:

  1. The date and place of first disclosure of the design.
  2. The relationship between the disclosed design and the contested design.
  3. Knowledge of the disclosure of the design by interested parties.

The “protection” offered by the unregistered design is therefore uncertain, as the owners must be able to prove disclosure and copying of the design in question in order to enforce their intellectual property rights.

In addition, the protection offered by the filing of a registered design lasts 5 years and is generally renewable up to a maximum of 25. The “protection” given by the unregistered design lasts for a maximum of 3 years and is not renewable.

The protection of the unregistered design in the European Union is valid only in the territory where the design was made public.