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Applications for industrial design property protections

Industrial designers can obtain intellectual property protections over their distinctive-looking new products by registering their designs with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Registered industrial designs receive exclusive, legally enforceable rights for up to 10 years in Canada. Registration protects the appearance of a product, not what it is made of, how it is made, or how it works.

The process of applying for an industrial design appears simple, but requires some technical knowledge. You may wish to consider getting help from a lawyer with related experience, or from a registered patent agent.

The standard format of an application requires three elements:

  • Application for registration;
  • Drawings or photographs; and
  • Application fee

Application for registration of an industrial design

The brief application form requires the applicant’s address and name. The applicant is called the proprietor. The form also requires a name or title describing the article for which the application is submitted. The name or title is usually the common name of the article, such as “chair”.

To satisfy the Industrial Design Act, the form also includes a statement confirming that the design was not in use when the proprietor adopted it. If you have retained a representative to assist with the application process, the representative’s name and address must be included on the form.

The proprietor must also supply a written description of the new and original design features. This portion of the application should not describe the “chair” or its functions, but the design features of the chair. The written description of the new and original design features will define the scope of the legal protection that the proprietor will receive. An experienced intellectual property lawyer or patent agent should help prepare your application.

Drawings or photographs

The proprietor must submit drawings and/or photographs of the design applied to the “chair” or other article. The drawings or photographs must satisfy precise requirements relating to size, quality, and detail. The drawings or photographs must be capable of being photocopied in black and white. The article must be shown clearly and to scale.

Because it is difficult to correct errors once an application has been filed, ensure that all parts of the application are completed correctly.

Application fee

Proprietors may file their applications by mail to the Industrial Design Office of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office in Gatineau, Quebec. Applications may also be filed in person at an Industry Canada office. Applications submitted online must be accompanied by uploaded photographs and drawing. Fees for online applications may be paid by credit card.

Read more:

Canadian Intellectual Property Office

A guide to industrial designs