What is Industrial Design?
industrial design is the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article.
The design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or
surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, such as patterns,
lines or color.
Industrial designs are applied to a wide variety of products of industry and
handicraft: from technical and medical instruments to watches, jewelry, and
other luxury items; from housewares and electrical appliances to vehicles and
architectural structures; from textile designs to leisure goods.
protected under most national laws, an industrial design must appeal to the
eye. This means that an industrial design is primarily of an aesthetic
nature, and does not protect any technical features of the article to which it
Why Protect Industrial Designs?
Industrial designs are what make an article attractive and appealing;
hence, they add to the commercial value of a product and increase its
industrial design is protected, the owner - the person or entity that has
registered the design - is assured an exclusive right against unauthorized
copying or imitation of the design by third parties. This helps to ensure a
fair return on investment. An effective system of protection also benefits
consumers and the public at large, by promoting fair competition and honest
trade practices, encouraging creativity, and promoting more aesthetically
Protecting industrial designs helps economic development, by encouraging
creativity in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, as well as in
traditional arts and crafts. They contribute to the expansion of commercial
activities and the export of national products.
Industrial designs can be relatively simple and inexpensive to develop and
protect. They are reasonably accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises as
well as to individual artists and craftsmen, in both industrialized and
How Can Industrial Designs Be Protected?
countries, an industrial design must be registered in order to be protected
under industrial design law. As a general rule, to be registrable, the design
must be "new" or "original". Different countries
have varying definitions of such terms, as well as variations in the
registration process itself. Generally, "new" means that no identical or very
similar design is known to have existed before. Once a design is registered, a
registration certificate is issued. Following that, the term of protection is
generally five years, with the possibility of further periods of renewal up to,
in most cases, 15 years.
Depending on the particular national law and the kind of design, an industrial
design may also be protected as a work of art under copyright
law. In some countries, industrial design and copyright protection can exist
concurrently. In other countries, they are mutually exclusive: once the owner
chooses one kind of protection, he can no longer invoke the other.
certain circumstances an industrial design may also be protectable under
unfair competition law, although the conditions of protection and the rights
and remedies ensured can be significantly different.
How Extensive Is Industrial Design Protection?
Generally, industrial design protection is limited to the country in which
protection is granted. Under the
Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs, a
WIPO-administered treaty, a procedure for an international registration is
offered. An applicant can file a single international deposit either with WIPO
or the national office of a country which is party to the treaty. The design
will then be protected in as many member countries of the treaty as the