Community Designs have a unitary character, which implies that they have an equal effect throughout the European Union.
The duration of the registered Design is five years from the date of filing the application for registration and four times renewable with another five-year period. So, the maximum duration of the registration of a design is twenty-five years from the date of filing the application. On the other hand, protection for unregistered designs lasts for 3 years from the date on which the design was first made available to the public within the European Union; no extension is possible.
Registrable is the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, shape, texture and/or materials of a product itself and/or its ornamentation. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional designs can be registered. As also graphic symbols and typographic typefaces may be protected.
On the other hand, not registrable are designs not complying with the definition of a design, designs lacking the required novelty, designs lacking the required individual character and designs being contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality.
In the case of a registered design, a design will be considered new if no identical design has been made available to the public before the date of filing of the application for registration or if priority is claimed, before the priority date. Additionally, a Community design can be protected only to the extent that it is new and has individual character.
For the purpose of determining the novelty and individual character, a priori, a design will be deemed to have been made available to the public if it has been published following registration or otherwise, or exhibited, used in trade or otherwise disclosed, before the filing or priority date, except where these events could not reasonably have become known in the normal course of business to the circles specialized in the sector concerned, operating within the European Union.