Guarantee the exclusive use of the aesthetic characteristics of a product. This is the aim of an industrial design, something which contributes to the success of a business, regardless of its sector.
Industrial designs provide ample protection to their holder to avoid non-authorized third parties from using, copying, making, importing/exporting, or selling products with a given set of protected aesthetic characteristics, including shapes, lines, contours, colors, textures, or ornamentation.
The assignment or licensing of this industrial property asset to third parties is also permitted, allowing you to increase the value of your company’s assets. If you wish to do so, our team can help you define and negotiate the best solution for you.
Industrial designs have a continuous period of protection that differs from country to country, but that can last up to 25 years.
The criteria and their interpretation vary according to jurisdiction. However, industrial designs are protected when:
When no identical design has been previously disclosed to the public.
The overall impression caused is different from those designs previously made public.
Packaging, graphic symbols (such as computer icons), footwear, clothing, or patterns are some examples of the kinds of things can be protected by industrial designs.
If you have a product with the characteristics listed above, it is likely that you can protect it with an industrial design. There are, however, other aspects that should be taken into consideration: Do you intend to market your product? Do you foresee making a profit from that marketing?
If the answers are affirmative, then you have an innovation to protect through this means. However, for a clear answer all your questions, get in touch with our official intellectual property agents.
Once we obtain all the required information to file and effectuate the application, our industrial design department continually monitors the publication, registration, and management process for this asset:
What is an industrial design?
An industrial design is a right that protects the aesthetic characteristics (shapes, lines, colors, etc.) of products that are:
New, i.e., that have not been previously disclosed and that have
Individual character, i.e., that produces a different overall impression from other existing products.
These criteria – and their interpretation – differ from country to country.
As such, industrial designs differ from patents or utility models, which protect the technical characteristics of a product. An industrial design focuses on the appearance of a product, independently of its technical aspects.
To give an example, industrial designs are often used in the footwear, automotive, and furniture industries, being very important for distinguishing between many devices, such as machines or domestic appliances.
So, what are the differences between industrial designs and copyrights?
Copyright protects artistic, literary, or scientific works from their creation, such as novels, photos, paintings, drawings, etc.
Why should you register an industrial design?
If you have created a new product with individual character, it is important that you protect it by registering it as an industrial design and obtain the exclusive rights to produce or sell it. You will also be able to take legal action against third parties that try to copy or counterfeit your product for commercial purposes.
It is also worth mentioning that the industrial design protection period can last as long as 25 years, depending on the country. As such, you are guaranteed the maximum degree of security in the exploitation of your product with innovative aesthetical characteristics.
The rights on exploitation of an industrial design also include the power to assign or license it to third parties. This allows you to enhance your company’s value, especially if you want to create a design portfolio.
Can you publicly disclose your products?
If you do so before filing the industrial design application, it is likely that you will no longer be able to protect the products, because they will have lost their novelty.
Public disclosure should only happen after the filing.
Can you disclose your innovations to us?
Yes. Our work is confidential and we do not disclose our clients’ information. If you wish, we can sign a nondisclosure agreement.
How does the industrial design registration work?
Our professionals are highly specialized in the industrial design sector and take on the various stages of this process:
1 - Definition of the best registration strategy, bearing in mind the type of products to be protected or the number of jurisdictions.
2 - Preparation of technical designs or photographs in order to meet the necessary formal requirements.
3 – Filling the application for registration.
4 – Monitoring of the granting process, responding to notifications from the PTOs.
5 - Monitoring of the publication and granting process.
6 - Sending alerts to inform you of the need to pay the design registration maintenace fees to be paid in five instalments or annually. This differs by country, as in some jurisdictions they may not exist, may be paid every five years or annually.
7 - Definition of strategies that help increase the industrial design’s legal protection on the market.
Should the industrial design registration be carried out only in the country in which you intend to market your innovation?
You must register the industrial design in all the countries to which you intend to export and distribute your innovations. You have six months from the date of the first national filing to carry out any registration in another country.
Is there a global industrial design registration?
No, this is why it is necessary to file the application in every country where you want to protect the aesthetic characteristics of your product, complying with the formalities of each jurisdiction.
To make this process more convenient, there is The Hague route, in which we file one single application that allows the extension of the industrial design protection to more than 65 territories.
However, there are other options with a more regional focus. This is true in the case of the African Intellectual Property Organization (AIPO), in which it is possible to register an industrial design in all countries belonging to the Bangui Agreement; of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), which permits a single filing for all countries belonging to the Lusaka Agreement; of the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP), where you register an industrial design in the three countries belonging to Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg); and of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), in which it is possible to register an industrial design in the European Union member states.
How can you enforce your industrial design rights?
In the face of a harmful and illegal act, it may be necessary to resort to law enforcement agencies, customs, and courts. Penalties differ from country to country and they can be civil (compensation payments), criminal, or administrative in nature.
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