Biomedical Engineering Reference
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located at Alicante; the registration gives the holder exclusive right to implement
and market the protected design, either individually or on the products in which it
is incorporated, for a period of 5 years, which can be extended to a maximum of
25 years with following renewals.
The unregistered Community design is in force since 6 March 2002; it is
acquired by the author free of charge and automatically (without filing any appli-
cation) starting from the date of disclosure or public use and with a duration of
3 years. The protection granted by unregistered designs is less complete than the
one offered by registered designs and covers the design only against copying.
The unregistered design aims at providing legal protection to products hav-
ing a short trade life, widely represented in the fields of fashion, textile or toys.
Although the procedure for registered design is quick, easy and not expensive, it
is poorly suitable for products which are often meant to remain on the market for
less than 1 year: in that case, the unregistered design offers adequate protection
from copying, without needing any cost or formal procedure for its obtainment.
The unregistered design has another important goal: it offers protection against
copying to those designs whose registration has been applied for, but which, must
undergo an experimentation period in the year after the application filing. During
this time, if unregistered Community designs did not exist, these designs might be
freely copied without infringements of rights, since they are not yet registered. This
so-called “grace period” (involving experimentation for 1 year) is foreseen by the
new Community rules and is aimed at avoiding that disclosures of the design before
the filing date, made by the author or with the consent of the author, may destroy
the novelty of the pending design. In contrast with previous national laws, any dis-
closure of the design by the author or with the consent of the author in the year fol-
lowing first disclosure does not destroy the novelty of the creation, which can hence
be marketed and tested in terms of commercial success, without negatively affect-
ing the validity of a registration applied for within 1 year. During this 1 year experi-
mentation period, the unregistered design protects the product against copying. International Protections
The Hague Agreement is an international registration system that provides the
opportunity to obtain protection for industrial designs in the States and intergov-
ernmental organizations that are part of it. The agreement consists of three interna-
tional treaties: the first was signed in London in 1934, the second in the Hague in
1960 and the last in Geneva in 1999. Currently 48 countries have joined it, includ-
ing all states of the European Community.
The international registration of the design under this agreement does not per-
mit the grant of a patent design such as the Community design. However, with the
international design you can claim priority within 6 months from the date of the
first national registration.
Indeed, the international registration is a simplified procedure that allows to
submit a single application to the World Intellectual Property Organization by
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