An EU-application, an international appication and most of the national applications for industrial designs may claim priority from an earlier application filed not more than 6 months earlier. The period of priority may in principle not be exceeded.
Two different types of design protection exist within EU countries.
All designs complying with the requirements for EU design registration are automatically protected for three years from their publication.
Within the EU, a single application is sufficient for obtaining a registered community design which is valid for all EU countries. Also, a single application of this type allows for co-registering of an unlimited number of designs of the same class.
The EU design system corresponds in principle to the already existing EU trademark system. Accordingly, it is also the same authorities that are responsible for processing community design applications, namely The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante, Spain.
An EU design is automatically extended to new EU member states. Possible former national registrations in new EU countries may not impede registration. In this situation, two designs may co-exist in this country..
Since the beginning of 2008, the European Community is party to the Hague Agreement on the international registration of industrial designs. This allows Danish designers to obtain protection in a number of countries by filing a single international design application.
If design protection is sought in countries that are not party to the Hague Agreement individual national applications have to be filed.
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