Design patents or industrial design registrations have grown significantly in value and importance over the past decade as the value of good quality industrial design has become more widely acknowledged. We regularly counsel clients to consider this form of protection as a key element of their IP strategy. When employed correctly, design protection can provide a valuable complement to trademarks and patents, particularly in consumer-facing aesthetically-focussed industries. Design registrations also provide an effective IP protection option for product segments that traditionally have difficulty in finding effective mechanisms for protecting their product innovations, like the fashion industry.
Canada’s implementation of the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs provides another, potentially more effective, avenue for Canadian applicants to gain widespread design protection when seeking protection in multiple countries.
We regularly assist foreign applicants to obtain counterpart Canadian industrial design registrations that complement foreign registrations in the US or Europe. While broadly similar to US and European systems, the Canadian Industrial Design system includes some key differences, particularly in regards to drawings requirements, the meaning and use of stippled lines, and the ability to include variants.
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