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Industrial Design

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office defines industrial design as, “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 design must be appealing to the eye in order for it to be registered and it must also be original as well as capable of industrial development and reproduction. An example to help understand what exactly is considered an industrial design would be the design for a new type of bicycle. This bicycle would be unique in design and configuration, which would make it a pleasure to ride, but more importantly appealing to observe. Industrial design law protects such designs that are created in quantities of fifty or more. Industrial design law is similar to patent law in the sense that in order to implement a right of protection on said design it must be registered in every country.

The owner of the design can import anything that uses their design, for the purpose of trade or business, including being allowed to sell the thing that uses their design. The owner can also use the same rights for their registered design if it’s something that comes in pieces and has to be assembled, e.g. a new bike design that has to be assembled when you buy it, it’s not necessary to register each individual piece of that bike because your entire bike design is registered.

The registration of a design doesn’t protect the method of construction of your design, e.g. if you register the design, but also came up with a machine/process that would build the bike. The registration of the design won’t protect that method of construction; you have to patent that separately. Also, the registration only protects your design, not features that can be found in the actual object that uses your design. For example if you made a new pedal system feature, only the design of the bike is registered, that separate feature is not. Thus an individual can take that pedal system feature and use it on their bike, as long as their bike is not designed like yours.