Celebrating 20 years of the Registered Community Design – EUIPO

As part of our ongoing collaboration with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), we share resources and updates on how to protect your designs.

On 1 April 2003, the EUIPO opened its doors to the registration of the new Registered Community Designs. The RCD has proved to be a game-changer for businesses across the European Union.

Ready to protect your design?

Reminder, from 1st January 2021 the following post-Brexit changes apply, please go to:

Previously, businesses had to go through a cumbersome and expensive process for registering their designs in each EU country separately, but with the RCD, businesses were able to protect their designs across all EU Member States with a single filing.

 “The community design represented a qualitative leap in design protection in Europe. Before it entered into force there was practically no harmonisation. So, for the first time, we managed to get a common understanding of what design protection means.”

Elisabeth Fink, Boards of Appeal

The first-ever Registered Community Design

The first Community design application was submitted by the Japanese firm Casio Computer Company for their renowned calculators. The application was received on 1 January 2003 and registered on 1 April 2003. The application comprised various images of the calculator and was categorised under “electronic calculators” in the Locarno International Classification of industrial designs.

Even though the design expired in 2013 and was not renewed, it remains timeless and a significant milestone in the history of design protection in the European Union. As the first RCD ever granted, it has served as a precedent for future design registrations while also contributing to the development of design law in the EU.

Since then, Casio has applied for 599 designs at the EUIPO, which include electronic devices like digital cameras, electronic pianos, telephones, watches of all kinds as well as different models of their popular calculators.

Many other designs followed shortly after the registration of the Casio calculator including: a pen, a pair of jeans, shorts, an early digital camera and even a toy Porsche… and some iconic designs like the Bialetti Moka pot, the Vespa by Piaggio and the symbol of Formula 1.

The RCD today

The Registered Community Design has revolutionised the way businesses protect their designs in the European Union market. With over 1.8 million RCD applications received by the EUIPO since its inception, the RCD has become a crucial tool in safeguarding intellectual property and promoting innovation.

The EUIPO currently registers nearly 100 000 designs a year. In 2022, around 106 000 designs were received and in 2021 the record was broken with almost 115 000 designs. The RCD has therefore become a valuable intellectual property right that underpins our economy and supports jobs.
In order to highlight the best designs among all the design applications received at the EUIPO, every two years the EUIPO celebrates the DesignEuropa Awards. These recognise excellence in industrial design and design management and highlight the importance of design in today’s world. The fourth edition of the awards will be held in Berlin in September 2023.

The new RCD easy filing form

To coincide with this milestone, on Saturday 1 April 2023, the EUIPO will launch the RCD easy filing form.

This easy-to-use online form is aims to help businesses, designers, and entrepreneurs file their EU designs. It involves a virtual assistant guiding applicants through the process.

Registration costs 350 € however, SME Fund applicants may receive up to a 75 % reimbursement, enabling them to protect their designs for just 88 €.

The user-friendly form can fast track the application process, allowing applicants to complete the form in just 10 minutes and receive their registered design in just 2 days.

Applicants can use the new RCD e-filing from 1 April 2023.

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What is in store for designs in the upcoming future?

The Designs Directive (DD) and Community Design Regulation (CDR) are currently being refined. The European Commission (EC) adopted the legislative initiatives package to recast the DD and amend the CDR on 28 November.

This aims to modernise provisions, make design protection more efficient and accessible in the digital age. It tailors design and product definitions to allow for the protection of digital designs, including virtual spaces, graphical user interfaces, and clarifies the subject matter of design protection.

The proposal for the amended CDR inter alia, renames “Registered Community Design” to “Registered EU Design” and expands the scope of design rights to fight infringement and counterfeiting in the areas of 3D printing and the placement of counterfeit products in customs situations. It also adjusts the fee structure and levels to make EU designs more affordable for SMEs and individual designers.

The proposal for the DD finally opens up the spare parts market. In adds some principal procedural rules to the already existing substantive ones to ensure harmonisation of design protection across the EU and thus complementarity and interoperability between the Community and national design systems.

The legislative initiatives package is currently in the hands of the European Parliament and the Council for the discussions and adoption under the ordinary legislative procedure. The new rules of the DD are proposed to be transposed into national law within two years after the date of entry into force of the DD.

To learn more about designs and how to protect them, you can check the EUIPO Design Hub.

Ready to protect your design?

Reminder, from 1st January 2021 the following post-Brexit changes apply, please go to: