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An industrial design protects the visual features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament - or any combination of these features - applied to a finished article made by hand, tool or machine.

The shape of a perfume bottle, the sleek design of a car, and the elegant shape of a tablet are all examples of an industrial design. The registered design must be original and cannot be obvious in view of pre-existing designs or products. Canada grants a maximum of 10 years for the legal protection of a registered design. An industrial design is a valuable business asset that can complement, or sometimes replace, patents.

While a patent covers the function of a product, a design protects the visual features of the product. In addition, industrial design protection costs only a fraction of the patent protection.

Aventum’s Industrial
Design Expertise

Aventum IP Law LLP will help you determine if applying for an industrial design is the right strategy for your IP portfolio. We will guide you through the design application process in Canada and in other countries.

Design FAQ

  • An idea
  • A method of construction
  • Materials used in the construction of an article
  • The function of an article

The application must be filed no later than 12 months after it is first disclosed to the public.

Once your industrial design application is approved by the Canadian Industrial Design Office, it is registered for an initial period of five years. During this time, you have the exclusive right to the design in Canada.

You can maintain the registration for an additional five-year period by payment of a maintenance fee before the end of the first five-year term. This maintenance fee payment deadline can be extended for no more than six months, after which it is no longer possible to maintain the registration.

  • Application form — including a description
  • Drawing(s) or photograph(s) of the design

Note: Only the visual aspects of the design should be described. This includes the shape, configuration, pattern or ornament (or any combination of these); it should not refer to how the article functions or performs.

While Canada provides a 12-month grace period to file an industrial design application after it is published, other jurisdictions have different grace periods or none at all.

We recommend filing an application before going to the trade show, handing out samples, seeking crowd-sourced funding, or publicizing your design in other ways. If you must disclose your design to investors, contractors, or other third parties, we recommend using a confidentiality or a non-disclosure agreement when doing so.

At Aventum, we can provide with filing information in other countries, and assistance in preparing confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements.

Once your design application is filed at the Canadian Industrial Design Office, it is examined to make sure that it fulfills all of the requirements for allowance. The Examiner may issue a formal request to correct any defects, usually within 6-12 months after filing. If there are no objections, or if a response is filed that overcomes the Examiner’s objections, a Notice of Allowance will issue.

The examination process can be shortened by requesting an accelerated examination for a fee. In addition, documents will have to be filed if a change in ownership of the design takes place.

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