INDUSTRIAL DESIGN: PRODUCT APPEAL
For certain industrial products, appearance is a decisive factor in sale, so clear harmony of shapes may lead to one product being successful while the competitor’s product fails. The creative design is the key to a firm’s success in market sectors with saturated supply, allowing it to carve out its own sales niche and reinforce its image. Registration of designs and models is the ideal way of protecting investments in creative research against imitations, since it grants exclusive use to the holder.
Our firm offers specialised consultancy in:
- conducting checks on the presence of the requirements for registration of a design or model;
- conducting priority searches to avoid confusion with existing industrial designs;
- managing registration procedures for national, community and international industrial designs;
- starting procedures for multiple filings.
Once the application has been filed, we protect the industrial designs by:
- managing five-year renewals of the exclusive rights;
- providing technical and legal assistance on assignment and licensing agreements;
- providing legal assistance in the case of disputes.
What is an industrial design?
An industrial design is the visual or decorative aspect outlined by the attributes of the visible external structure of a product or part of it (lines, contours, colours, shapes, etc.).
What are the basic requirements for registration of an industrial design?
- Novelty: it must not be identical to industrial designs disclosed at a date prior to the date when the application is filed. Novelty is assessed in absolute terms, without territorial limits: industrial designs are not considered to be new if they are identical to industrial designs already made public in any region of the world. The author has 12 months after the industrial design is disclosed to file the application.
- Individual nature: the industrial design must have a highly characterising impression on an informed user and not resemble other shapes already present in the specific sector of reference. The term “informed user” means the final consumer who pays attention to the appearance of consumer goods in a specific sector.
- Legality: the industrial design must not break the law or go against public decency.
Which authorities are responsible for registration of industrial designs?
The Italian Patent and Trademark Office receives applications for registration of national industrial designs. The Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market receives applications for community registrations, which are valid for the entire territory of the European Union. The registration is valid for 5 years from the application filing date and may be renewed for a maximum of 25 years. International industrial designs are filed at the WIPO for countries which have signed the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs; for other Countries, individual applications must be made for the Country concerned.
What are the risks of failing to register industrial designs?
A registered industrial design grants the holder use of all legal remedies for protecting industrial property rights. Failure to register them leads to the risk of imitation by competitors, with which a price war could then start. European regulations, which are also valid in Italy, also grant certain rights to “unregistered industrial designs” (i.e. those disclosed without registration), but only for 3 years from the date when the industrial design is made public: it is therefore advisable to use this type of protection only for industrial designs with a short commercial lifespan.