The first Common Practice on designs was agreed by participating EU IP Offices in November 2015. As a result, a Common Communication has now been published on the website of all implementing offices on 15 April 2016. This simultaneous publication offers users and interested IP Offices access to the Common Practice in its entirety and complementary information, such as the precise implementation dates for each implementing EU IP Office. A compilation of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) was also published together with the Common Communication.
Implementing EU IP Offices have worked diligently to prepare themselves and their stakeholders for the changes (if any) implied by the new Common Practice. A seamless incorporation of the principles into the EU Design landscape has been a top priority for the project's Working Group composed of twenty-three participating IP Offices, five observers, two User Associations and the EUIPO. With that in mind, the principles of the Common Practice, the Common Communication and supporting FAQs document have been made available in all 23 EU languages.
These efforts support transparency, legal certainty and predictability in how to use, appropriate disclaimers, types of views and how to represent designs on a neutral background. As additional information for users, the Common Communication also includes an overview of the Offices' quality standards for design applications received by electronic means and by paper.
This Common Practice is the first milestone in the harmonisation of designs practices and is most certainly the beginning of a continuous collaboration between the IP Offices in the field of designs.