The European Commission has launched a consultation relating to the perceived effectiveness of existing design right legislation within the European Union (EU). The aim of the consultation is to establish whether the current legislation works as intended and can still be considered fit for purpose.

The timeliness of the consultation is welcome, particularly noting the age of the current legislation, and the lack of harmonisation in certain key areas concerning how design rights are governed and assessed by the different EU member states.

The scope of the consultation is pleasingly broad, noting it covers registered and unregistered design rights, and design rights both at the national and EU levels. The consultation also strikes a reasonable balance between questions posed at a more general level, and questions that are specific to particular areas of design law where there is a distinct lack of harmonisation between EU member states.

The deadline for responding to the consultation is 31 March 2019. Further information about the consultation can be found via the European Commission website.