Irish design law to European standard


The Irish law relating to designs has been amended to implement the EU Design Rights Directive, which provides that the protection for designs must be by way of registration. The protection is, however, without prejudice to other forms of rights, such as trademarks, patents, utility models and copyrights.

The most significant changes brought to the Irish law are as follows:

  • The maximum duration of protection is increased from 15 years to 25 years, as long as the registration is renewed every five years;

  • Disclosure anywhere in the world is now relevant (as opposed to disclosure in Ireland as was previously the case), subject to a one-year grace period for the designer's own publications;

  • The design has to possess individual character to be protected; and

  • Protection is provided for the design itself, rather than for the application of the design to a particular article.

Under transitional provisions, applicants whose applications were still pending on July 1 2002 could choose whether they wanted the old or new law to apply. Designs registered before July 1 will continue to be governed by the old law, whereas applications filed on or after July 1 will be governed by the new law.

Ladas & Parry, New York

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