The Council of Ministers has rejected an amendment to the proposal
for a Directive on the legal protection of industrial designs and
models adopted by the European Parliament, in its second reading.
The Parliament and Council will now have to negotiate a joint text
on the proposal. The dispute centres on the "repair" clause which
was rejected by the Council of Ministers.
The draft Directive aims to harmonise the legal
protection of industrial designs and models in the European Union
and reduce the number of obstacles to the free movement of goods
for designs and models.
The "repair" clause would in some circumstances
allow replacement components as part of a "complex" product, such
as visible motor vehicle spare parts, to be reproduced freely by
independent parts manufacturers under a compulsory licensing
arrangement whereby they pay a fair and reasonable remuneration to
the vehicle manufacturer and the public is informed of the origin
of the replacement part, probably through an indelible mark. The
aim of such a clause is to achieve a balance between the industrial
property interests of the motor vehicle manufacturers and the
encouragement of competition in the provision of spare parts which
do not "stand alone" from the rest of the vehicle design.
The difficulty of reaching agreement on this issue
has already significantly delayed the Directive and will further
delay also the adoption of the Community Design Rights Regulation,
which will enable a single EC-wide design right. The terms of the
Regulation will very likely follow those of the Directive as
closely as possible.