The Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union
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Outward appearance, as specified in a design, plays a very important role in the distinctiveness and value of products. As a result, organisations are increasingly choosing to protect their design rights by registering them.
Rights owners can choose between various national and international routes to protection and the registered Community design (RCD), administered by OHIM, has been available since 2003 to cover all 27 member states in the European Union in a single application.
To date, OHIM has received and registered around 690 000 designs and this is increasing at a rate of about 75 000 a year. Registering an RCD is an inexpensive, fast and uncomplicated process. More than 40% of designs are now being registered within one week.
For those interested in learning more about the importance of protecting Intellectual Property rights, OHIM has developed the "Hands off my design" e-learning programme, which is available on the dedicated website www.handsoffmydesign.com. The programme was produced as a resource for students and teachers in design schools in cooperation with the Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media.
OHIM recently launched a major competition aimed at recruiting designers in the battle against counterfeits and illegal copies. The "handsoffmydesign" competition called for innovative proposals for high-impact "guerrilla or viral" marketing tools that would capture the imagination of the modern audience using social networking sites on the Internet.
The competition, organised by OHIM and the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy, was endorsed by the Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media.
It called for proposals for posters and videos aimed at illustrating the dangers or negative impact of counterfeits and illegal copies from both amateur and professional designers, with significant cash prizes for the best entries in each category.
The names of the winners and the winning proposals were published on February 1st on www.handsoffmydesign.com.