How to protect your industrial design intellectual property: A complete guide to industrial design

Industrial design rights are considered a sort of intellectual property right that keep the visual identity of a specific object away from unauthorized exploitation by anyone other than the owner or the creator.

It’s essential to know how to keep your industrial design away from futility and theft. But first, let’s get to know what industrial design rights can mean or include.

What are industrial design rights?

An industrial design is a unique creation that gives a product a distinctive appearance when it is incorporated into or applied to it. These qualities might result from the object’s form, lines, pattern, layout, color, substance, or even material.

We use many things on a daily basis that have industrial designs, which can be the unique design of a device, the graphical user interface of a digital platform, or the design of a medical device.

Designs can be safeguarded in a wide range of ways, including through copyright, a non-registration scheme, or a registration system. Three levels of registration are available: national, regional, and global. The markets the applicant plans to operate in typically determine the most effective strategy.

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A competitive edge in the target market

As “form comes after function,” a product’s shape should be determined by its function. Obviously, one of the goals of industrial design is to have form and function work in harmony, resulting in products that are not only simple to use and sensible from a practical standpoint but also stand out and look perfect.

Beneficially, the industrial design will enhance the opportunity for its product in the target market, especially when it fills a gap in these markets and meets a real need.

Price, performance, credibility, and a product’s appearance are just a few of the various elements to take into account when trying to sell something. That’s why investors use huge resources and expertise to create a desirable, good-looking product because consumers are frequently attracted to products that are visually appealing.

Avoid fraud practices.

Registration of your industrial design gives you the complete and exclusive rights to avoid and prevent other competitors from using, selling or producing your own industrial design. This means that for a specified duration, you will be able to protect your design from infringement and theft trials. Also, having a registered industrial design can attract investments for your company as it is considered an important asset for your business.

Is it different from the “Patent”?

Sometimes, people find themselves confused about industrial design, patents, copywrites, and trademarks. You can consider that each one of these intellectual property rights has its own purpose and conditions. However, there are several significant variations between them, as the industrial design is different from trademark, copyright, and patent:

  1. Industrial design focuses on the unique shape of a product and the visual appearance that distinguishes the product itself.
  2. Patent: concerned with preserving the rights of new and useful inventions, whether the product itself, the machine, or the process.
  3. Trademark: which reflects one or more words, a sound, or a design that differentiates a product, an organization, or a company from the other lookalikes.
  4. Copywrite secures unique literary, artistic, and musical artworks, all of which are known as “performances.”

So, we can say that each of these types of intellectual property protects a specific aspect of your invention, product, or artwork.

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Industrial design registration is it important?

In most countries, you should register your industrial design to guarantee the protection of your rights under industrial design law. And certain countries grant the protection of unregistered industrial designs without registration requirements but with limitations in time and scope.

It is critical if you want to retain your exclusive rights to use your industrial design and prevent any third party, whether a competitor or manufacturer, from using it by any means.

The duration of industrial design protection

Industrial design rights are protected for a limited time, which varies from one country to another but usually lasts for at least 5 years. Geographically, these rights are territorial. So, it’s restricted to the country in which you registered your industrial design.

Glorious examples of iconic industrial designs

It’s never been simple to develop products that are both contemporary and distinctive, but some items achieve it so well that they become iconic, enduring the test of time to become “classics” of their category.

Around us, there are a lot of industrial designs that we use every day without considering their uniqueness, for example:

  1. The unique bottle of “Coca-Cola”

yes, this delicious drink that we all admire. It is unique and special. The Coca-Cola “Curvey” bottle, which is identifiable by countless individuals worldwide and is regularly used by many consumers, is a perfect example of memorable industrial design.

Since more than a century ago, the design has been instantly recognizable. When it was initially made available to the general public in the 1900s, the original design was created.

  1. The Volkswagen “Beetle” car

A notable case of automotive industrial design is the Volkswagen Beetle. Bela Barenyi, an 18-year-old student from Hungary, came up with the original Beetle design in 1925, five years before Ferdinand Porsche claimed to have produced his first prototype.

A wide range of manufactured and handcrafted products, including textiles, lighting equipment, electronic devices, jewelry, and packaging, are all subject to the application of industrial designs. Graphical symbols, graphical user interfaces (GUI), and logos—all of these types can be considered industrial designs.

Actually, real-world problems are tackled through the process of product design, which emphasizes functionality and ease of use while also combining the design process with the internal and external objectives of a business.

5 Reasons to Register Your Industrial Design

  • It provides official documentation as proof of ownership.
  • You are the owner of the exclusive usage rights to your industrial design for up to 15 years.
  • It protects your industrial design from third parties’ usage, sale, or rent.
  • It offers you a valid legal right to utilize the design of your product in order to achieve a competitive advantage in the target markets.
  • It preserves the originality of your design.


Your business can greatly benefit from design registration, including ownership of the exclusive right to the design’s production and distribution. In addition to giving, you the chance to sell or license the exclusive rights to your design to others, this will enable you to keep competitors out of the market.

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