Cheap copies of original products flood into the European market in ever increasing quantities. With this trend, design protection has taken on a new economic dimension. The industries most affected by this development encompass manufacturers of toys, sports products, fashion and furniture – but in general, any industrial design may be worth protecting. The German and Community design regime provides interesting and cost-effective legal instruments for the protection and enforcement of design rights.

With the entry into force of the Community Designs Regulation in 2002, the legal situation in Europe regarding design protection has fundamentally changed – to the advantage of design owners. Community design protection, both for unregistered and registered design rights, is directly enforceable in each Member State and is valid for the territory of the European Union (EU). The recently re-codified and harmonized German national design law supports this process. While an unregistered design only protects the right holder automatically from unauthorized copies for three years after disclosure, the registered EU design gives an exclusive exploitation monopoly for up to 25 years.

Attorneys of BARDEHLE PAGENBERG were among the first to have successfully enforced designs under the new EU law. An up-to-date collection of the emerging national case law on the EU design in Germany and other Member States produced by attorneys of our firm ensures, for today and in the future, that the interests of our clients are represented with the highest standards of legal professionalism.

BARDEHLE PAGENBERG represents and advises clients in design matters in the sectors of fashion and shoes, computers and consumer electronics including game consoles, and sporting goods.

For more information on Designs, see our online-series "BARDEHLE PAGENBERG Concise Knowledge".