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Parliamentary questions
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20 December 2019
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Henna Virkkunen
 Subject: Different design-right laws in the Member States, hampering the functioning of the internal market

Many companies importing and selling spare parts for trucks in the EU suffer from divergent national design protection laws, both leading to unfair competition within the EU and hampering the functioning of the internal market.

Under the current Directive on the legal protection of designs, vehicle manufacturers can protect visible spare parts with the aid of design protection. The national design law of certain Member States - but not all - allows some leeway in relation to the sale of repair services. In the absence of any such leeway, vehicle manufacturers can easily use design protection law to establish a position for their visible spare parts that is tantamount to a monopoly. This inequality within the EU is very difficult to deal with. Divergent legislation creates a situation where operators can buy these products from other EU countries, but as soon as the products cross the border, it becomes illegal to use them. When local companies importing and selling spare parts are forced to refuse to sell design-protected spare parts, customers turn to other EU countries to buy products there. The current legislative disparity places operators in the EU at a disadvantage and consumers do not enjoy genuine and equal freedom of choice.

What does the Commission intend to do to avoid restrictions on free trade between EU Member States and to avoid the creation of monopolies, in order to give consumers the widest possible freedom of choice?

Does the Commission intend to harmonise EU legislation on the protection of designs?

Original language of question: FI
Last updated: 16 January 2020Legal notice