On 3 September 2021, the EU Commission released the results of a public consultation on the reform of Design Law (“Results”). The public consultation gathered inputs from 105 respondents, mostly located in Belgium, Spain, Italy, France and Germany. Among the results, it is worth mentioning that the majority of respondents pointed out the need to provide more transparent and clearer rules about the process of design registration, and at the same time the need to increase awareness of the existence of the EU Design legal framework and the protection it provides. Almost two-thirds of respondents also highlighted the need to clarify the relationship and cumulative protection offered under design and copyright law and to remove the margin of discretion for Member States to determine conditions for copyright protection (about this issue, see also the EU Court of Justice ruling on the Cofemel case). The Results also suggest that a rule on spare parts similar to that envisaged under Regulation (EC) No. 6/2002 of 12 December 2001 on Community designs should be introduced in Directive (EC) No. 98/71 of 13 October 1998 on the legal protection of designs (Design Directive). The EU Commission is now expected to release a new impact assessment study in the coming months, based on the results of the Public Consultation, that might provide clearer insights about whether the EU is willing to proceed with a reform of Design Law.
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