What We Do

Industrial designs consultations

Public consultation on EU reform package on industrial designs

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is seeking the views of stakeholders and interested parties on a proposal for a reform package on industrial designs, consisting of a Directive (recast) of the European Parliament and of the Council to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to industrial designs, and a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 6/2002 on Community Designs.

Public consultation on EU reform package on industrial designs

Industrial design protection in the EU

The design of a product is often the main reason that consumers chose it over others. Industrial design rights protect the appearance of a product, which results from attributes such as its shape, colours or materials. The EU has harmonised industrial design protection across EU countries and introduced the Community design that offers unitary protection across the EU through a single procedure.

The Designs Directive and Community Design Regulation, originally created twenty years ago, are currently being revised.

The revision aims to ensure that design protection is fit for purpose in the digital age and it is more accessible and efficient for individual designers, SMEs and design intensive industries in terms of lower costs and complexity, increased speed, greater predictability and legal certainty. 

Modernisation of the legislation on design protection 

The European Commission adopted two (package) proposals for a revised Regulation and Directive on 28 November 2022 which, inter alia, aspire to:

  • modernise existing provisions to clarify rights in terms of scope and limitations
  • simplify and streamline the process of registering designsin the EU
  • adjust and optimisethe level and structure of payable fees
  • harmonise proceduresand ensure they complement national design systems
  • allow the reproduction of original designsfor repair purposes of complex products (such as cars) with an EU-wide “repair clause”

The proposals follow the Intellectual Property Action Plan, adopted in November 2020, which aims to revise the EU legislation on design protection. It reflects calls from stakeholders, the Council and the European Parliament requesting the modernisation of the legislation, while aiming to build on results of a comprehensive evaluation of the EU design legislation reform. 

The European Commission would like to hear your views

The adopted acts are open for direct feedback at the links provided below for a minimum period of 8 weeks and will close on 23 January 2023.  

All feedback received will be summarised by the European Commission and presented to the European Parliament and Council with the aim of feeding into the legislative debate.  

Intellectual property – review of EU rules on industrial design (Design Directive) (europa.eu)

Intellectual property – review of EU rules on industrial design (Design Regulation) (europa.eu)

Closed consultations

European Commission public consultation on the revision of the EU legislation on design protection

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.