Design Law – What Awaits in 2024?

Document No: PUB 20O/23 Posted: 24 April 2024

For two years the IP Federation has been actively engaged in championing the views of UK industry in design law through debate and submissions with various stakeholders and legislative bodies . Finally, some of the revised legal landscape is beginning to come into focus and the future challenges more apparent.

At the end of the 2023, it was announced that the Council of the EU and the European Parliament had reached a provisional agreement on the first substantial review of the 20-year-old EU Design Law. Two of the most notable changes amongst the proposals are infringement provisions associated with 3D printing and digital transformation, as well as the permanent introduction into the law of the Repair Clause. It is proposed that only the owner of an EU registered design shall have the right to create, download, copy and share software recording the design for the purposes of making the design, thus curtailing efforts to avoid infringement via digital means. The introduction of the Repair Clause seeks to enshrine in the law the extent to which EU design right holders can prevent the use of spare parts of an identical appearance for the repair of a complex product. Interestingly, the proposed clause seeks to balance the interests of design owners, consumers and the replacement parts industry by deviating from the ruling by the CJEU in Acacia vs Audi & Porsche (joined cases C-397/16 and C‑435-16) by narrowing the exclusion to “must-match”-only replacement parts of complex products. The formal adoption by both the Council and Parliament of the proposals is expected in early 2024.