Design protection is a powerful tool for manufacturers to secure exclusive rights to the visual features of their products and protect their business interests in the long term. By obtaining an industrial design registration, the manufacturer is granted the right to exclude others from making, using, and/or selling products that are identical or substantially similar to their registered design for a period of up to 10 years from the date of registration or 15 years from the date of filing, whichever is longer.
In order to be eligible for design protection, the features of the design must be original and novel, meaning that it must not have been created by anyone else before and must be an improvement that would not have been obvious to a person skilled in the field of the design.
It’s important to note that design protection is limited to the visual features of the design and does not relate to the function of the manufactured articles. Novel and inventive functionality is protectable by a patent, not by a design. This means that while a design registration can prevent others from copying the appearance of your product, it will not prevent them from creating a functionally similar product.
Design protection is often obtained for articles of manufacture, like laundry appliances or furniture, where manufacturers do not want their competition to simply copy the appearance of their design and sell an identical-looking product in the marketplace. This provides a marketing advantage to the manufacturer’s sale of the article over the sale of a similar article by their competitors.
Design protection is relatively less expensive than patent protection and quicker to obtain. Craig Wilson and Company (CWC) can assist you in drafting the design registration application and prosecuting the design registration from filing to allowance. We can also conduct design availability searches and help you with filing for designs in foreign countries through our network of foreign associates.
Don’t let design concerns hold you back from bringing your product to market. Let the patent agents at CWC help you protect your design and secure your business’s future. Contact us today and let us help you make the most of your design’s aesthetic appeal to the consumer and its marketing advantage to your sale of the article over the sale of a similar article by your competitors.