Industrial design registration for decor and building elements guide, Canadian real estate law, Canada construction
Industrial Design Registration For Decor & Other Building Elements
26 December 2022
If you are in the construction or home improvement industry, you know the pain of creating unique designs, and the last thing you hope to see is someone else profiting off your hard work.
Luckily, Canada and other countries have laws that offer protection against individuals or entities wanting to copy your work. If your work involves creating new designs in décor and building elements, you should consider registering your designs as part of your intellectual property.
But first, you will need to have a basic understanding of industrial design.
What Is Industrial Design?
Industrial design refers to the visual appearance of a product. Visual elements included in industrial design include shape, configuration, texture, and ornamentation, among others. Industrial design is part of intellectual property registrable under Canadian IP laws.
A design must be new and original to be eligible for protection under Canadian industrial design law. It must also not have been disclosed to the public before the date of filing for registration.
The design need not be a unique or significant improvement to an existing innovation. The only requirement is that its visual appearance is unique from other products in the market. For example, if you create a one-of-a-kind door design, you could seek to register the design as part of your intellectual property while the door is not a new innovation.
Where to Register
Countries have different agencies for registering IPs. In Canada, for instance, an industrial design applicant must apply for registration with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) through their online portal or visit their office in person.
Navigating the IP registration process alone can be a challenge, so you may want to have experts helping you in the process. One of the main benefits of industrial design registration with the help of an expert such as an IP lawyer is that you can leave all the heavy lifting to them as you concentrate on running your business.
If you are successful, you will get a certificate of registration as proof of ownership and an exclusive right to profit from your designs. But you can allow other entities or individuals to use your designs in exchange for royalties. Also, you get the right to stop others from profiting from your designs, including suing for infringement of your industrial design rights.
Duration of Industrial Design Rights
Industrial design rights are enforceable for 15 years from the date of filing for registration or ten years after the design is duly registered. After the lapse of the protection period, other people or entities can legally use your designs on their products without legal ramifications.
Like patent protections, the idea behind industrial design rights is to shield the creator of the design from unfair competition, considering they put in the effort to create a unique design. After the lapse of the protection period, you can rely on other protections, such as trademark protections, to protect other aspects of your products, such as your brand names, logos, and slogans.
Scope of Protection
If your business extends beyond Canadian borders, industrial design registration under CIPO will not offer protection outside Canada. So you will need to register for copyright protection in the countries where you intend to have a presence.
For example, if you want protection in the US, you must apply for IP protection through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
It would help if you also considered filing for registration with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which offers IP protections in most countries. This way, you avoid paying registration fees for all countries where you want to be present.
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