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Claiming Priority for EU IPO Registered Community Designs (RCDs) Simplified

From 12 September 2020 the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EU IPO) will participate in the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Digital Access Service (DAS) as an office of second filing. This enables users to supply the EU IPO with a DAS code on filing a priority-claiming registered design application, and thereby automate the transmission of the priority document(s) to the EU IPO.

Earlier this year the EU IPO announced that the RCD system was to participate in DAS, which is a service that allows participating IP Offices to exchange Paris convention priority documents electronically, and thereby avoid the need for applicants to file documentation (in practice, often certified copies of the first filing) in order to support a claim to priority under the Paris convention.

Instead of filing physical certified copies of documents, users of the system are able to ask the office of the first filing to submit a copy of the application to WIPO. In practice, users are given a DAS code which they can use in a second filing with another participating office, and which enables that participating office to access a copy of the first filing directly from WIPO.

The EU IPO have until now been operating as an office of first filing only, allowing first filings of RCDs at the EU IPO to be submitted to WIPO and to be issued with a DAS code. Effective 12 September 2020, the EU IPO are now also operating as an office of second filing, allowing applicants for RCDs claiming priority from a first filing with another participating office to submit the corresponding DAS code with the RCD application in order to support the claim made under the Paris convention in full.

In practice, use of this system will simplify and speed up prosecution of RCDs claiming priority under the Paris Convention. Clients should note however that this is only available where the RCD is e-filed, and that the DAS code must be submitted at the time the application is filed. Including the relevant DAS code (if known) with new instructions is therefore recommended.