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Registering your industrial design in a foreign country

Any industrial design that you register with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office will only give you exclusive rights over that design in Canada.

In other words, your design will usually not be protected in another country. It’s also important to note that if you register your design in Canada, you may be precluded from registering it in other countries.

How do I register my design in another country?

You have to find out what the applications requirements are for registering your design in another country. Usually, a patent agent or lawyer either in the country or in Canada that is familiar with the laws of the country in which you wish to register will be able to help you along.

However, be aware that the requirements for registration most likely differs from country and country and specific research has to be done into the requirements of each country in which you plan to register your design.

To give you an idea of a process involved to register your industrial design in another country, you can look at the example of a Canadian filing an industrial design application in the United States. There, you would have to file it through the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

It’s important to note that in Canada we call the process an industrial design application and registration process but in the United States, it’s called a design patent application and registration process. Other countries may also call this process by a different name.

The process is similar, though not the same, to the Canadian process and the requirements for a patent application are the following:

  • Preamble, stating name of the applicant, title of the design, and a brief description of the nature and intended use of the article in which the design is embodied;
  • Cross-reference to related applications;
  • Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development;
  • Description of the figure(s) of the drawing;
  • Feature description;
  • A single claim;
  • Drawings or photographs;
  • Executed oath or declaration.

If the examiner who is dealing with your application accepts your application and after searches show your design is “patentable”, the application will usually be approved and you will get further instructions on finishing the process.

Though the process in the U.S. for applying for a patent is fairly similar to the Canadian system, other countries may have very different requirements.

Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs

If Canada were part of the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, Canadians could file an international registration. Through this international system, people can file one single patent application to protect their designs in over 65 territories but only if their country is a party to the system, which Canada is not.

However, it seems likely that Canada will eventually join the countries already participating in this system as the U.S. has recently joined the Hague System.

If you wish to register an industrial design in a country other than Canada you should consult a patent agent and/or a patent lawyer.

Read more:

A guide to industrial designs

Frequently Asked Questions: Industrial Designs World Intellectual Property Organization