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Industrial Designs and The Hague Agreement: An Introduction

Industrial Designs and The Hague Agreement: An Introduction

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An industrial design is that aspect of a useful article which is ornamental
or aesthetic. It may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the
shape or surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, such
as patterns, lines or color.
Industrial designs are applied to a wide variety of products of industry
and handicraft: from watches, jewelry, fashion and other luxury
items, to industrial and medical instruments; from houseware,
furniture and electrical appliances to vehicles and architectural
structures; from practical goods and textile designs to leisure items,
such as toys and pet accessories.
An industrial design is that aspect of a useful article which is ornamental
or aesthetic. It may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the
shape or surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, such
as patterns, lines or color.
Industrial designs are applied to a wide variety of products of industry
and handicraft: from watches, jewelry, fashion and other luxury
items, to industrial and medical instruments; from houseware,
furniture and electrical appliances to vehicles and architectural
structures; from practical goods and textile designs to leisure items,
such as toys and pet accessories.

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08/23/2013

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Industrial Designs andThe Hague Agreement:An Introduction
W
ORLD
I
NTELLECTUAL
P
ROPERTY
O
RGANIZATION
 
What is an industrial design?
An industrial design is that aspect of a useful article which is ornamentalor aesthetic. It may consist of three-dimensional features, such as theshape or surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, suchaspatterns, lines or color.Industrial designs are applied to a wide variety of products of industryand handicraft: from watches, jewelry, fashion and other luxuryitems, to industrial and medical instruments; from houseware,furniture and electrical appliances to vehicles and architecturalstructures; from practical goods and textile designs to leisure items,such as toys and pet accessories.An industrial design is primarily, if not exclusively, of an aestheticnature; the actual design itself, as opposed to the article to whichit is applied, cannot be dictated, at least solely or essentially, bytechnical or functional considerations.In general, an industrial design must be reproducible by industrialmeans. Otherwise it would constitute a “work of art”, protectableby copyright.The object of protection of an
industrial design
is to be distinguishedfrom that of a
patent,
primarily because the former relates to the
appearance
of an article. An industrial design consists precisely ofthat aspect of an article which is
ornamental 
or
aesthetic
and whichis not determined by technical or functional necessity. The object ofpatent protection, to the contrary, whether it is a product or a process,must first and foremost constitute an “invention”, which generallymeans that, among other requirements, it must be of practical use.An
industrial design
is to be distinguished from a
mark
(or trademark)primarily because it must not necessarily be distinctive. A mark, to thecontrary, although it may consist of different elements which may ormay not be ornamental, must always be distinctive, since a mark mustbe capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprisefrom another. The functions of and therefore the requirements forprotecting industrial designs and marks are quite different.Finally, industrial designs can only be protected for a fixed period oftime (usually for a maximum of 15 to 25 years, depending on theparticular national law).
 
Why protect industrial designs?
By protecting an industrial design, the owner is ensured an exclusiveright against its unauthorized copying or imitation by third parties.Since industrial designs are that aspect of an article which makesit aesthetically appealing and attractive, they do not merelyconstitute an artistic or creative element; they also serve toadd to the commercial value of a product and facilitate itsmarketing and commercialization.As such, an effective and modern system for the protectionof industrial designs benefits:the
owner 
, as industrial design protection contributesto the market development of his products and helpsensure a fair return on his investment;
consumers and the public at large
,as industrialdesign protection is conducive to fair competitionand honest trade practices and encouragescreativity, thus leading to more aestheticallyattractive and diversified products; and
economic development 
, as industrial designprotection injects creativity in the industrialand manufacturing sector, contributes tothe expansion of commercial activities,and enhances the export potential ofnational products.Another interesting feature of industrialdesigns is that they can be relativelysimple and inexpensive to developand to protect; therefore, they arereasonably accessible to small andmedium-sized enterprises, even toindividual artists and craftsmen,in both industrialized anddeveloping countries.
Courtesy: Swatch AG

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