An industrial design is an original creation of an ornamental nature, which, when incorporated in or applied to a product, lends a special appearance to it. These characteristics may result from its shape, lines, outline, configuration, colour, texture or material.
Designs can be protected by different means: through a registration system, through a system of non-registration and through copyright. Registration can be obtained at three different levels: national, regional and international. The best route usually depends on the markets in which the applicant intends to operate.
Resources about industrial designs
European IP Helpdesk
China IP Helpdesk
Latin America IP Helpdesk
South-East Asia IP Helpdesk
Depending on the Mercosur country, the Law refers to Drawings (Dibujos) that are bi-dimensional and Models (Modelos) that are three-dimensional. Generally both are referred to as Industrial Designs and have the same scope of protection: their external appearance.
There are different ways to acquire design protection, through application to national, community design or Hague design offices.
In the EU, you may obtain a community design registration valid in all member countries through a single application, which can be filed directly in the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Alicante (Spain) or through any of the EU national Industrial Property Offices. If the design is registered by national offices, the protection is limited to the country in which protection is granted. Some countries (e.g. the UK) provide the protection of unregistered design in their national legislation. Furthermore, all designs in the EU fulfilling specific criteria for protection are automatically protected (without registration) as unregistered Community designs.
The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs provides a mechanism for registering a design in several countries by means of a single application, filed in one language, with one set of fees. The system is administered by WIPO.
In Argentina, designs must be registered in order to be protected. Unregistered designs do not benefit from any protection.
Brazil does not belong to the International Design Registration System (Hague System). Thus, if you want to protect your industrial design in the country, you must apply for a national one.
In China, the aspect of a product is protected with a design patent. A design patent provides the right holder the exclusive use of a product design for a period of 10 years. As well as providing a legal basis to fight counterfeiters, a design patent also allows you to generate additional revenue by licensing the design to third parties.
The outward appearance of your products can be protected in the Philippines as industrial designs. An industrial design is any new or original creation related to the ornamental features of shape, configuration, form, or combination thereof, of an article of manufacture, whether or not associated with lines, patterns or colours, which impart an aesthetic and pleasing appearance to the article.
Original ornamental designs or models for articles of manufacture, whether or not they can be registered as an industrial design, are also copyrightable. Thus, an original ornamental work may be protected both under an industrial design registration and under copyright.
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