Reform of the Community Design Regulation soon into force

After more than 20 years since its introduction, a provisional agreement has been reached between the EU Council and Parliament to reform design law 30 April 2024

In an increasingly digital world where 'artificial intelligence' and "augmented reality" are everyday terms, a new law will allow design protection to be updated to modern times, starting with a modification of the terminology that had now become indispensable: the "Community designs”, in fact, will now become “Designs of the European Union”.

Article 3 of the Regulation on Community Designs (i.e. "of the European Union") will be amended to include in the definition of design also a "movement, transition or any other sort of animation". Additionally, the term “product” will include not only a physical product, but also any “non-physical” product as well as graphical user interfaces, animated logos and designs, item sets, and layouts.

Consequently, the content of the registration application, in particular the actual representation of the design, is also characterized by important innovations: it will in fact be possible to file, in addition to traditional images, videos and 3D digital representations, particularly useful in the case of drawings and complex designs, with moving or dynamic parts.

Another important and revolutionary change concerns the possibility of filing products that do not belong to the same Locarno class with a single multiple form, thus being able to protect, through a single application, products that are very far from each other. This novelty is particularly favourable for companies that will have to pay a single basic fee for filing a multiple design as it is no longer necessary to file as many multiple designs as the different Locarno classes to which the various products belong.

A revision of the official fees, both for the first filing and for renewal, is also foreseen, but the member countries of the European Union have not yet reached an agreement on this point.

Lastly, a unique symbol is officially recognized to indicate that a product is protected through a registered design, comparable to the symbol ® already provided for in trademark regulations, but containing the letter "D".

At present, the entry into force of the new law – which amends both Regulation (EC) no. 6/2002, and Directive 98/71/EC – is scheduled for February 2025. Each member state of the European Union will then have to update the national legislation accordingly.

A necessary reform which, inter alia, will allow Italy – a leader in the sector and the first country in Europe in terms of number of operators and turnover – to express its potential even more and play an increasingly strategic role in the European economy.


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