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News: EU Commission rejects reciprocation on unregistered design protections

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With a possible no-deal Brexit just around the corner, United Kingdom (UK) designers have been dealt a major blow. The European Commission had opted to reject reciprocation between the European Union (EU) and UK on unregistered community design protections. This means that UK designers unregistered rights within the EU will stop on the 31 December 2020, at the end of the transition period.

Currently, unregistered designs receive three years protection from being first shown in the EU. The automatic EU design right protects the individual character of a design which includes shape, colour, texture, ornamentation, contours, lines, and materials. It basically protects the entire product.

From the 1 January 2021 UK designers will no longer be able to rely on the automatic protection in the remaining twenty-seven EU countries.

Anti Copying in Design (ACID) has given evidence to the Government saying that many UK design companies ‘could lose up to 25% turnover and up to 20% job loss because this would open the flood gates to design infringement by those intent on copying.’

EU designers will also now be unable to receive automatic protection in the UK post Brexit.

ACID asked Government Officials from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) why the EU Commission rejected reciprocation and the reasons given were, ‘that the issues were too complex and there was no time to work them out.’

Acid’s Chief Counsel, Nick Kounoupias has said, ‘With Brexit out of the way, we urge Government and policy makers to use this clear opportunity and new freedom to support the UK’s fantastic designers by strengthening IP law. The current consultation on the new Enforcement Strategy is an ideal vehicle to include criminal provisions for unregistered registered design as a strong, much needed deterrent against copying and even more so now.’

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