The awards, to be held in November this year in Milan, will be presented to companies and individual designers. The only criteria for consideration is that their designs must be protected by valid registered Community design (RCD) rights.
There are three categories: industry (for companies with more than 50 employees and more than €10 million in turnover/balance sheet); small and emerging companies (including companies established after January 1 2013, regardless of size); and lifetime achievement (for individual designers with a significant body of work).
Designs will be judged based on aesthetic value and visual appeal; demonstrable impact on the market; and sound marketing and management of design and other IP rights.
Winners will be decided by a jury representing design, business and IP rights.
Applications for the industry and small/emerging company award can be submitted by the RCD owners themselves or by third parties, who can also nominate individuals for the lifetime achievement award.
The awards are being organised by OHIM (soon to be renamed EUIPO) and the Italian IP office (UIBM).
No doubt designers will appreciate this new opportunity to recognise the creation and use of what is often seen as an under-appreciated IP right. By contrast, the European Inventor Awards, organised by the EPO, are now in their 11th year: this year's ceremony will take place in Lisbon on June 9.
The only question is: who will design the EuropaDesign trophies? They had better look good. And will they be registered as RCDs?