Industrial Design

An industrial design includes the ornamental part of an article. It may consist of a three-dimensional feature like the shape of an article or two-dimensional features like lines, colors or patterns.

The purpose of industrial design is to make a product or an article appealing to customers. The appearance of a product is among the main factors that influence a customer’s decision. Thus, it becomes an important area of focus and protection for both small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and larger companies.

1.Protecting an industrial design can help the business market innovative products.

2.Once a design is registered, it is protected for 10 years, thus, preventing others from commercially exploiting or copying the design.

3.It can help strengthen a company’s brand value. For instance, the iconic design of the coca-cola bottle has become so popular that customers recognize the brand by just looking at the shape of the bottle.

4.Protecting an industrial design also allows the owner to sell or license the design to another person or enterprise, allowing them to generate revenue.

5.Helps portray a positive image of the company, as industrial designs are important business assets.

What can be protected?

A wide variety of products can get industrial design protection. Some of them include industrial and handicraft items, packages, household goods, textiles, jewelry and even graphic symbols and logos.

How are industrial designs protected?

In a majority of countries, industrial designs require a registration to be protected under the design law. Some countries also allow the protection of designs under patent law as ‘design patents’. In India, if an owner does not protect their industrial design then they may not enjoy exclusive rights over them. As a result, a competitor may steal the same design and market their product without the permission of the original owner. The owner in such a case will have no legal remedy.

Applying for an Industrial design registration?

Before one applies for industrial design registration, the applicant must ensure that the design is new or novel and has not been disclosed to the public before. This is important because once an application is disclosed to the public it becomes a part of the public domain. Once the applicant fulfills these criteria, an application can be made to the IP office of the country in which the protection is sought.

The applicant may also conduct a design search to see if there are any similar registered designs at the online databases of the respective IP offices.