In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Registered Community Design (RCD), the EUIPO has launched a new RCD easy filing form. While this new form eases the administrative aspect of filing the RCD, it does not change the filing requirements.
For those unfamiliar with RCDs, an RCD protects the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation. An RCD gives its proprietor the exclusive right in the European Union to produce, sell, import or export any product bearing or embodying a novel design. RCD rights protect the design, as seen, and extend to similar designs so long as they do not substantially differ from the impression on the informed user.
An RCD only protects the design as depicted in the filing. By selecting the right images, applicants can both avoid a notification of deficiency and optimize the scope of protection afforded by the RCD.
For a design to be accepted, all images must adhere to certain requirements, including:
- Correspond to one design;
- Be presented on a neutral background;
- Each image must only have one view of the design per image;
- At least one view must show a set of articles or complex product in its entirety;
- If color is to be protected then it must be included consistently in each image submitted
- No explanatory text, wording or additional symbols may be used in the design views
Failing the above, and a few other restrictions, the application will receive a notification of deficiency.
The various requirements may seem straightforward, but often they are not. For example, if an applicant wishes to protect a novel design of a game piece, such as a chess pawn, they are required to both include images of the pawn, but also of the chess set in its entirety. Further, while no explanatory text, arrows, or numbers may be included, other identifiers such as broken lines, boundaries, or shadings are vital to indicate which elements are to be protected, and which not.
Finally, each application is limited to ten images/views: seven of which are protected, three which are not.
It is thus imperative that applicants take care in choosing the right images for their RCD applications. This not only to avoid a deficiency but also to ensure that your design benefits from the broadest scope of protection.
At GEVERS, we have 125 years of experience in the Intellectual Property field and have been protecting RCD’s since their inception twenty years ago. We welcome the opportunity of advising you on selecting the best images to optimize your design protection.
Jennifer Kepler – Senior Paralegal