Industrial designs – what are they and how to protect them?

Industrial designs – what are they and how to protect them?
Darrius Drew
Industry 4.0
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Attractive design is something worth protecting. That is why it is so important for your brand to take the legal steps that will help you do so. So find out what industrial designs are, how to register them and how you can protect them

An industrial design, like an invention, a trade mark or a utility model, is protected by industrial property law. This law protects the outward appearance of a product. So, what are the features of a design, when and how to obtain protection?

What are industrial designs?

An industrial design is a new and unique form of a product or a part thereof. This includes, but is not limited to, shape, color, contour, material of manufacture, texture and ornamentation. In the eyes of the law, any object consisting of a number of replaceable components allowing its disassembly and reassembly, as well as a replaceable component of a composite article if it remains visible after being incorporated into the composite article, shall be deemed a product.

For example, small objects such as candlesticks, tableware, labels and product packaging, mobile app layouts and logos, large constructions, candies…the list is really long and diverse. However, the most important thing is that the design has an individual character.

Industrial design registration

To keep your design safe, it is advisable to opt for legal protection. This can be done by registering your design. To do so, you must file an application with the national or foreign Patent Office. As with trademarks, you can choose one of three procedures: national, EU or international. Remember, however, that you will have to pay official fees for registration, the amount of which depends on the territorial range of the requested protection and the number of designs in one application. What requirements must a design meet to be protected?

First of all, it must be new. What does that mean exactly? In simple terms, you can test sell the product, but before 12 months have passed you should file for protection. After that period, even if you formally register the design, competition may invalidate it

The design must also have individual character, which means it must stand out. However, there must be more than just minor details separating it from the competition. In the eyes of the law, the overall impression produced on an informed user should be different from the overall impression produced on him by a design made available to the public before the date according to which priority is determined. It is worth remembering, however, that in assessing the individual character of an industrial design, the degree of creative freedom in developing the design is also taken into consideration.

What does design registration really give you? First of all, stronger legal protection. In addition, registration will make you the authentic owner of your product. On the plus side, you’ll be able to block competitors’ offers without going to court, and if there is a dispute, you’ll be able to shift the burden of proof onto your opponent. It will also prevent the theft of the rights to your product and avoid any attempt to copy your product.

Main photo: ThisIsEngineering/pexels.com

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