The EU Council updates the law on industrial designs created by 3D printing

This week, the Council of the European Union established its position on the planned amendment to the Directive on the legal protection of designs. The aim is to update the regulations on the protection of industrial designs produced using 3D printing technology. An industrial design is defined as the external appearance of a product, and the visual attractiveness created by designers often determines the consumer’s choice between products. Protecting such a design from imitation is crucial to maintaining competitive advantage and product value.

The proposed update aims to adapt the legislation from 1998-2002 to contemporary realities, facilitating the registration of designs in the European Union and unifying procedures between the European system and the member states. The new regulations also take into account the specificity of patterns created using 3D printing technology.

Negotiations between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament will start after MEPs have agreed on their position.

New reality vs. old law

The EU Council’s initiative is an important step towards adapting European legislation to the challenges of the digital era and the growing importance of hyper-manufacturing in industry. The fact that the EU Council has decided to update the Directive on the legal protection of designs indicates the growing importance and popularity of 3D printing technology in Europe. This technology brings innovation and new opportunities for companies, but at the same time raises challenges in the protection of intellectual property.

The current legislation dates from 1998-2002, which makes it outdated in the context of 3D printing technology, which only gained importance after 2010. Examples of such issues include, for example, 3D scanning and 3D printing of architectural objects, monuments or sculptures that are subject to rights copyright of their creators, but on the other hand – when they are in public space, they can be freely reproduced and commercialized, e.g. in the form of photos, but reproducing them in physical form (on a scale) is still ambiguous. When it comes to industrial or consumer projects, what remains to be solved is the in-house design and production of spare parts or adapters for existing products.

All this should be clearly defined and defined to exclude the current sphere of interpretation of regulations that are inadequate to the new reality.


Comments are closed.

You may also like

More in News