As from 11th July 2020, the EUIPO became a participating office in the World Intellectual Property Office’s Digital Access Service (DAS) for Registered Community Designs (RCDs), in a move that is very welcome by design right holders and their representatives alike.

The EUIPO’s announcement of this news can be found here.

The DAS is an electronic system administered by WIPO allowing priority documents to be securely exchanged between participating intellectual property offices. When filing a registered design application which claims priority from an earlier design filing in another jurisdiction, it is a common formality requirement to file a certified copy of the earlier application as evidence of the priority claim. This can involve time and expense in obtaining a certified hard copy of the earlier application from the office of first filing, filing that certified copy at the intellectual property office of the later application, possibly also including local attorney charges. Furthermore, multiple certified copies of the first filing may need to be obtained and filed where corresponding registered design applications are being filed in multiple jurisdictions.

The DAS allows a participating “Office of First Filing” to send an electronic copy of any new application filed with them to be recorded at WIPO. WIPO then provide a DAS code unique to that recorded application that can be used by any other participating “Office of Second Filing” to access the electronic record directly from the DAS for the purposes of claiming priority in subsequent filings. This makes it much simpler and cheaper for users of the system to meet the formality requirements for claiming priority under the Paris Convention.

A number of other national intellectual property offices are already participants of WIPO’s DAS for registered designs, including those of Australia, Canada, China, India, Israel, Japan, Korea and the US.

Initially, the EUIPO will only be participating as an Office of First Filing, meaning RCD applications first filed at the EUIPO can be recorded and accessible via the DAS service. However, the EUIPO is expected to also begin acting as an Office of Second Filing later in the year, after which applicants filing RCD applications that claim priority to an earlier filing can simply provide the DAS code to the EUIPO with the priority claim in the application instead of having to file any priority documents.
If you have any questions in connection with this, please do not hesitate to contact us.