Patent Office seeks comments on Community designs proposals

United Kingdom

The UK Patent Office has started a formal consultation on certain aspects of the operation of UK legislation relating to Community designs. The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on a number of possibilities for legislation to ensure that the Community designs system works correctly in the United Kingdom.

The Patent Office wants comments on its proposals to:

  • make it an offence to claim falsely in the United Kingdom that a design is protected as a Community design;

  • provide redress against groundless threats of infringement of a Community design in the United Kingdom;

  • provide that communications with a professional representative on the special list under Article 78 of the Council Regulation on Community Designs in matters regarding the protection of designs should be privileged, whether or not that representative is also a patent or trademark agent;

  • extend the crown use provisions of the Registered Designs Act 1949 to cover community designs to the extent that the use is necessary for essential defence or security needs; and

  • designate Community designs courts.

The first four of these issues involve applying provisions that already exist for UK national registered designs to Community designs, ensuring increased consistency between the UK registered designs system and the Community designs system. The fifth issue is necessary to meet Community obligations. Says the Patent Office: "We propose to designate the courts competent for UK designs matters as the Community design courts."

Comments on the proposals should be submitted by December 13 2004.

Jeremy Phillips, Slaughter and May, London

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