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Industrial Designs Consultations

European Commission Public Consultation on the revision of the EU legislation on design protection

May 2021

Delivering on the actions contained in the European Commission’s Intellectual Property Action Plan, the Commission has launched a Public Consultation on the revision of EU legislation on industrial design protection. 

The public consultation relates to industrial designs protection, that is, the rights which protect the appearance of a product resulting from its attributes such as shape, colours or materials. The public consultation seeks to obtain views of all those affected by design protection in Europe on selected issues, such as whether rules on spare parts protection should be changed, as well as potential policy options in view of the review of the Community Design Regulation (6/2002) and the Directive on the legal protection of designs (98/71/EC). The review of the rules follows an exhaustive evaluation of the EU legislation on design protection, which was supported by a comprehensive public consultation and two major economic and legal studies. The evaluation indicated that the rules are working well, however, there are certain shortcomings that need to be addressed to modernise the legal framework and make it fit for the digital age.

The Commission invites the views of all interested stakeholders affected by design protection in Europe on potential options for reform of industrial designs protection. While the consultation is directed at a broader public, the reply to certain questions will require legal expertise and experience in the relevant field.

Participants who wish to take part in the consultation should do so by 22 July 2021 by completing the questionnaire available at the following link: 

Public Consultation on the revision of the EU legislation on design protection 

Any questions regarding the consultation should be submitted directly to the European Commission using the Contact Form on the consultation page. 

Further information about this initiative

Review of EU rules on industrial design (Design Regulation and Design Directive)

Design rights protect the appearance of a product, which results from attributes such as its shape, colours or materials, from unauthorised use.

The European Commission has opened two feedback periods for the updating of EU rules on design protection.

This initiative aims to;

  • Modernise, clarify and strengthen design protection
  • Make design protection more accessible and affordable across the EU
  • Ensure EU and national rules governing design protection are more compatible
  • Further align EU rules on design protection for repair spare parts

The EU Commission will summarise the input received in a synopsis report explaining how the input will be taken on board and, if applicable, why certain suggestions can't be taken up. Feedback received will be published on its website.

Both of the feedback periods will close on 12 January 2021.

Access the feedback initiatives:

Commission’s evaluation report in relation to EU legislation on Design Protection

The Commission has concluded an evaluation of EU legislation on design protection. The results presented in the evaluation report, published on 6 November 2020, show that EU legislation on designs works well overall and that it is still broadly fit for purpose. However, the evaluation revealed a number of shortcomings that need to be addressed to make the legal framework fit to support the digital and green transition of EU industry, and to become substantially more accessible and efficient for industries, SMEs and individual designers. These shortcomings include in particular a lack of clarity and robustness of certain key elements of design protection (subject matter, scope of rights and limitations), outdated or overly complicated procedures, inappropriate fee levels and fee structure, lack of coherence of the procedural rules and an incomplete single market for spare parts.

The purpose of the evaluation is to analyse to what extent the current EU legislation on design protection has achieved its objectives in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, relevance, coherence and EU added value.  It also provides clear indications of the degree to which that legislation is still considered to be fit for purpose.

The evaluation provides a solid evidence base, allowing to draw conclusions on the impacts of the original objectives and the need for improvements, modernisation and streamlining. Eventually, it may feed into an impact assessment study for a possible amendment of the Directive and the Regulation and/or other targeted initiatives.