Although not as widely known as trademarks or patents, industrial designs are an integral aspect of Intellectual Property and as such, business owners must consider protecting their designs through industrial design registration so that their IP portfolio encompasses all their assets and they are protected on all fronts.
What is an Industrial Design and why register one?
An industrial design is defined as the appearance or ornamental aspects of all or part of a product that gives it novelty and distinguishes it from similar products in the market.
Industrial designs can apply to either industrial products or handicraft ones, ranging from packaging to household goods, jewelry to textile patterns, or fonts and graphic symbols to heavy industrial machinery.
Contrary to patents, industrial design registration does not protect a technical novelty or improvement, but rather the appearance and general design of a product.
In order to be eligible for registration, an industrial design must comply with three requirements: novelty (the design must not have been made public previously), uniqueness (the design must differ from other designs) and the possibility of being graphically represented.
However, the specifics of how these requirements are applied depend on the country where the industrial design registration is applied for. There are many benefits to a registered industrial design: it provides its owner with the rights to exclusive nationwide use of the design and serves as a deterrent against the use of similar or identical designs by third parties for similar products. It also allows its owner to grant license agreements over the product to other parties.
The Industrial Design registration process varies greatly according to the country in which registration is sought. However, some commonalities can be identified. Generally speaking, in order to file an industrial design application, the owner will need to provide a design title and brief description, the design author’s information (and the owner’s if they are different), some pictures or drawings of the product, and in some countries a Power of Attorney.
The registration process will include a formal examination of the application, and in some countries a substantial examination as well.
International Industrial Design Registration
The protection of industrial designs is territorial. A design registered in one country does not grant protection in other territories.
However, the World Intellectual Property Office has established a system, the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, which offers the possibility of registering in more than 90 countries with one application.
Additionally, the European Union grants Community Designs which cover all member countries of the EU with one registration, and for those interested in using their designs and Africa, industrial designs can be registered with OAPI and ARIPO, both of which make it possible to obtain protection in several countries at once.
Countries in which we offer industrial design registration services
- United States
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- European Union
- Hong Kong