2024 European Union Design Reform: A Concise Summary of Legislative Changes

European Design Legislative Reform: An Overview

In November 2022, the European Commission introduced two proposals under a ‘design package’ aimed at modernizing regulations to better suit the digital era and streamline processes for applicants. The proposals included an amendment to the Community Design Regulation and a recast of the Design Directive. In March 2024, during its plenary session, the European Parliament had voted on these proposals following a political agreement achieved in trilogue negotiations with the Council.

The new regulation is anticipated to be adopted and enter into force in the first half of 2024.

Why Was the Reform Needed?

The design legislative reform focuses on updating and simplifying the legal framework for design protection. This change is necessary to keep up with the digital era and to make design protection clearer, more reliable, and affordable, thus benefiting a wider variety of creators and businesses. The reform seeks to align registration procedures throughout the EU, make processes more efficient, and adjust fees to encourage more extensive use of design protections.

Phases of Implementation

The reformed legislation will come into effect 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). The amendments will be applied starting from the first day of the month following four months after the legislation’s entry into force. Detailed provisions, particularly those requiring secondary legislation such as Implementing and Delegated Regulations, will commence 18 months post-enforcement. Additionally, member states are tasked with transposing the new Designs Directive into national law within 36 months from its entry into force.

Key Changes Introduced

The reform introduces significant terminology updates to align with contemporary EU law, such as changing the term ‘Community Design’ to ‘European Union Design’ and updating associated regulatory references accordingly. New definitions broaden the scope of what can be protected, including digital and non-physical designs, addressing modern developments like 3D printing and digital animations.

An essential change is the expanded scope of design rights, which now covers acts that enable copying through technologies like 3D printing and provides enhanced measures against counterfeit goods. The reform also introduces a ‘repair clause’ in the Designs Directive, adapting the regime for protecting spare parts, and revises the design representation requirements to include modern methods like video and computer imaging.

Fast-Track Invalidation Proceedings

The reform introduces a new fast-track system for invalidating registered designs. This system speeds up the process for resolving disputes, when the holder doesn’t defend the design.

Design Classification Flexibility

It removes the requirement for multiple designs to be in the same Locarno class, thereby offering greater flexibility and cost efficiency for registrants dealing with diverse portfolios.

New fees scheme

The Parliament has proposed a revised fee scheme, differing from those initially suggested by the Commission and the Council. Under the Parliament’s proposal, the fee structure is outlined as follows:

  • Application fee (including publication): €350
  • Fees for each additional design from the 2nd to the 10th: €150 each
  • Fees for each additional design from the 11th onward: €150 each

Renewal fees are as follows:

  • 1st renewal: €250
  • 2nd renewal: €250
  • 3rd renewal: €700
  • 4th renewal: €1,400

This information is subject to confirmation.


The EU design legislative reform represents a significant modernization of the design protection framework, aligning it with current technologies and economic realities. It promises to enhance legal certainty, reduce complexity, and expand the accessibility of design rights, which will greatly benefit creators and businesses across Europe.


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