Protecting aesthetic innovations? An exploration of the use of Registered Community Designs

Rainer Filitz, Joachim Henkel, Bruce S. Tether

Research output: Working paper


A decade after their introduction, approximately three-quarters of a million European Registered Community Designs (RCDs) have been filed, and recent court cases suggest firms regard them as important for competition. This paper reviews design protection in Europe, discusses this legal instrument to protect designs and design innovations in the EU, and provides an overview of how they are used by firms from different countries and industries. To develop a more detailed understanding of their usage, we also report an exploratory qualitative study on the use of RCDs by German firms in three industries: footwear, car manufacturing and tool-making. This revealed some important differences in behaviors, notably between judicious filing and “all you can file” strategies, which imply that future research using this instrument requires attention be paid to firm behaviors. We develop a set of propositions, and set out a research agenda for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Place of Publicationn.a.
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2015

Publication series



  • design rights; product design; innovation; research agenda


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