The Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union
Applications are mainly checked for formalities. There is no in-depth substantive examination, except to verify that the application is for a design and that the design is not contrary to public policy or morality. Unlike the CTM system, there is no opposition procedure.
The RCD application will be examined and if there are no problems the design is then registered and published immediately or following the deferment period (upon request of the holder or his representative within 27 months of the application date or from the priority date).
If the application does not meet the formal requirements an objection (usually called a “deficiency letter” which will contain a time limit for the reply) will be raised. This may lead to the amendment of the application or to its refusal if the requirement is not complied with. If the deficiency letter is not replied to within two months, this could lead to the refusal of the application or to the deletion of certain views or to the loss of the claim of the priority right.
After registration, the application is either fully published or subject to deferment of publication during a maximum duration of 30 months from the date of filing the application or from the date of the earliest priority claimed.
The request for deferment must be made on the application form (by ticking the corresponding box on pages 1 and 2 of the application form) upon making the application; late requests will not be accepted.
This period of confidentiality allows the applicant an opportunity to further develop his marketing strategy or to finalise the preparations for production without competitors being aware of his design.
On registration, only very basic details will be supplied in the publication. The substance of the design (views, indication of product and classification) will remain confidential. This can be of vital importance in a sector such as fashion or the automobile industry where it is necessary to protect designs from competitors whilst arranging the production of the design into the final product. If at any time within the period of 30 months the applicant wishes to cancel his deferment he can do so by asking the OHIM to publish the design. This offers a great deal of control to designers/businesses over their creations.
At the end of the period of deferment, the holder or his representative is responsible for requesting the full publication by paying the publication fees. If the holder forgets to do so within the deadline (27 months at the latest from the date of filing or from the date of priority if any), the registered Community design right will not be published and will be lost.
An appeal can be made by any party adversely affected by a decision and can arise from decisions of examiners, the Administration of Trade Marks and Designs Department and Invalidity Divisions.
A notice of appeal must be filed in writing within two months of the date of notification of the decision appealed from. Payment of the appeal fee is required from the person lodging the appeal.