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Industrial Design

What is an industrial design?

An industrial design is a right that protects the aesthetic characteristics (shapes, lines, colors, etc.) of products which are:

  • New, i.e., that have not been previously disclosed;

  • Individual character, i.e., that produce a different overall impression from other existing products.

These criteria – and their interpretation – differ from country to country.

Therefore, industrial designs differ from patents and 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.

An example would be industrial designs often used in the footwear, automotive, and furniture industries.They prove to be very important  to distinguish between many devices that are similar in function but different in they way they look.

So, what are the differences between industrial designs and copyrights?

Copyright protects the creation of artistic, literary, or scientific works, such as novels, photos, paintings, drawings, etc.

Why should I register an industrial design?

If you have created a new product with individual character, it is important to protect it by registering it as an industrial design and obtaining the exclusive rights to produce or sell it. You will also be able to take legal action against third parties who may 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. 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 I publicly disclose my 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 I disclose to you my innovations?

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 I enforce my 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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