The European Community Model or Design is the form of protection adopted by the European Union with Council Regulation (EC) No 6/2002 of December 12, 2002 to introduce a uniform juridical system to protect industrial or hand-made created products simultaneously throughout all member states.
The acquisition of a single, uniform exclusive patent protection right within the EU, i.e. of a single exclusive right valid simultaneously in all EU Countries, is obtained by filing a registration application for a Community Design or Model to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market in Alicante (Spain), elected as Office for the administration of Community Designs and Models.
A registration application must contain one or more images of the product to be protected, which may be photographs or sufficiently detailed drawings, possibly accompanied by a short description of the product itself.
In one single filed application, the registration of multiple designs can be requested, without limitation on the relative number, provided they relate to products exhibiting common and mutually homogeneous aesthetic characteristics and belong to the same class in the International Classification for Industrial Designs.
A registration for design or model is to be considered valid until proven otherwise, which an interested third party may do at any time.
After completing the formal review procedure, the EU Office of Alicante (OHIM), where the registration application is filed, enters the design or model in the Registry of registered EU designs or models and publishes this registration in the Bulletin of EU designs and models.
However, the applicant may request, following the payment of an appropriate fee, the postponement of such publication up to a maximum of 30 months from the date of filing or, if priority has been claimed, from the priority date.
The registered EU Design or Model therefore enables the Applicant to forbid and prevent any and all imitations, even unintentional ones, without having to prove that they are based on copies of his own design or model.
It affords protection for five years, starting from the filing date of the related registration application, renewable four times up to a maximum protection period of 25 years.