Eurasian industrial designs are a completely novel type of intellectual property rights in the Eurasian patent system. In March 2021, the Protocol on Protection of Industrial Designs under Eurasian Patent Convention (EPC) entered into force. In April 2021, the Administrative Counsel of the Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO) approved the Instruction to EPC regulating the unified industrial design protection system, as well as the Regulation on respective fees. Now the Protocol is valid for six countries: Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Belarus and Turkmenistan have not yet finalised their ratification or accession procedures.
An EAPO design is a solution of an outer appearance of an industrial or handicraft article, which should be patentable: packaging, label, composite article, set of articles, typeface or an independent part of an article. An EAPO design may be issued for a solution that is new and original in its essential features. The applied design must be new and not known from the publicly available information in the world, including Eurasian and national applications with earlier priority and which are not withdrawn. Further, it must be original: the essential features of the article must have a creative character, meaning that there is no prior known solution of the outer appearance of the article with similar purpose, which makes the same overall impression on the informed user.
There is a grace period of 12 months for filing an EAPO design application. Within this period, the patentability is not affected if the information in respect of this design has been disclosed by the author, the applicant or another person, who received this information from them. The novelty and originality is checked during substantive examination only, provided an opposition is filed by a third party.
The term of validity of an EAPO design is five years from the filing date, and it can be renewed each time for five years for the overall validity term – not more than 25 years.
The invalidation of an EAPO design is possible through the administrative procedure before EAPO or as a result of proceedings in the national competent authorities of member states. The invalidation of an EAPO design as a result of the administrative procedure concerns all member states. In case the decision of invalidation is issued because of proceedings in the national competent bodies, it will be applicable only for the territory of the member state where such decision was issued.
The exclusive right to an EAPO design is valid in the territory of all member states and shall be enforceable as in respect of industrial designs patented under the national procedures in the course provided by the national laws of the member states, on territory of which the infringement takes place. Actions that can be recognised as the illegal use of the industrial design shall be determined in accordance with the national legislations of the respective member states.
The Eurasian regional system of industrial design legal protection is a flexible and convenient tool for applicants and patent owners interested in this region.