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Assigning and licensing an industrial design

Once your exclusive right to an industrial design has been registered and you have obtained registration, you can then choose how to market your interest in your design.

You can market your design because you have the exclusive right to your design only you can make or trade it in business.

Marketing your design also means that you can rent or sell the design for others to use and get a fee and whatever else you negotiate in return. The point is what you do with your design is your choice because legally the design is under your authority.

What is an assignment?

Simply put, an assignment is if you sell some or all of your rights to the design to another party who is called the assignee.

The assignee then takes over the ownership rights you once had to your exclusive rights to the design, which include making, using, importing, renting or selling products that use the registered design and to authorize others to do the same.

The assignment must be made in writing or it may carry no weight. After the assignment is made in writing you can record it with the Industrial Design Office against pending and registered designs. 

What does licensing my design mean?

Licensing simply means you allow another party to use it under certain terms and conditions. Those terms and conditions are usually captured in a licensing agreement.

Unlike with assigning, you actually retain your ownership interest in your design. In fact, depending on the terms and condition in your existing licensing agreement(s) you may even be able to license your design to more than one party.

Recording the assignment or lease with the Industrial Design Office

If you decide to record the assignment, the office will then check the chain of title to ascertain that the assignor is the current owner of record. If there is no issue after the chain of title is checked, then the office will record an assignment or license for the designs that are mentioned in the assignment document.

If the office is not satisfied that the assignor is the current owner of the industrial design, then the office will not record the assignment or license but rather request clarification or further documents to prove ownership of the design.

As assignments and licensing involve some complex matters you should consult a lawyer if you are planning to assign or license your exclusive right to your design.

Read more:

Industrial designs – Filing an assignment or license

Industrial Design Office Practices