Similar criteria for subsistence apply to unregistered Community designs to those of registered Community designs, that is the unregistered Community design must be original and have individual character in order to qualify for protection.
Protection is applicable from the date of disclosure of the design to the public within the European union, where disclosure includes marketing, publicly disclosing or sale of the design. Qualifying designs are protected as unregistered European Community designs for a period of 3 years from the date of disclosure.
The major difference in the extent of the protection given by a registered Community design over that of an unregistered Community design is that the registered Community design can protect against both copying and independent creation of an identical/similar design. An unregistered Community design will be protected against copying only.