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Protect your trade marks and designs in the European Union

Protect your intellectual property in the European Union


European Union trade mark regulation

Regulation (EU) No 2015/2424 of the European Parliament and the Council amending the Community trade mark regulation has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Amending Regulation will enter into force on 23 March 2016. From that day, the Office will be called the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Community trade mark will be called the European Union trade mark. More information


If you've got this far you'll know that registering a Community design is not like taxing a car. An RCD protects your creativity and enhances your presence in the market. However, the value of your design is not fixed – you must realise its potential. The more you put in, the more you get out.

The strategy you adopt to do this will be unique to you. It will reflect your company's wider interests and your intellectual property portfolio.

Publish your design

If you decided to defer publication of your design because you wanted to keep it secret from your competitors, don't forget that you will have to publish it some time if you want to reap the full benefits of registration. If you don't publish your design, it will be as if it never existed.

At the latest three months before the 30-month period expires (i.e. on the last day of the 27th month following the filing date or priority date, as appropriate), you must ask OHIM to publish your design. Obviously, you can also do this at any time before the 27-month period is up. When requesting publication, indicate also whether you want OHIM to publish your design as soon as possible or not until the end of the deferment period. If you did not pay the publication fee at the time of filing, be sure to pay this as well when requesting publication.

OHIM does not issue reminders of when the 27-month period expires. It is up to you to observe this time limit.

Expand your protection

Your IP strategy will evolve over the years and with it your needs to expand. If your ambitions extend beyond the EU, you may seek protection of your design outside the EU.

If you want to benefit from the priority right you should apply for protection in another jurisdiction within six months of filing your RCD. Bear in mind, however, that your RCD must be your first filing if you want to rely on it for priority purposes.

When claiming the priority of your RCD, you will probably have to prove that you have filed a design with OHIM. Some jurisdictions will accept a reference to our database, others might request a more official document. This can be obtained via the inspection of file request, which you can access from your user area on the OHIM website.

Some countries require authentication or legalisation of certified copies before they can accept them as the basis for a priority claim before their national office or as a basis for any other claim before their authorities.

Page last updated 08-01-2016