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Generally Industrial design is done by the Patent Registration Office in India and is defined as the exquisite, fancy or creative nature of an innovation or invention; it adds to the commercial value of the invention and increases its marketability. An industrial design consists of various features such as three-dimensional features (shape or surface of the innovation) and two-dimensional features (patterns, lines, colors etc). Industrial designs are applied to a wide variety of innovations varying from technological innovations to industrial products to handicrafts and so on. Industrial design in order to be protected must be original, new, non-obvious and non-functional i.e. there should be no prior publication or disclosure of the design.

Industrial design is of philosophical or creative theory and if there are any technical features that are applied to the article will be protected by a patent registration in India and not by the design registration. Industrial design is used to make a creation or invention appealing so that they can add to the market or commercial value of the product and can further increase its marketability. When the industrial design is protected it allows the creator who has registered the design to have exclusive rights on the creation and it prohibits the third party from copying or imitating.

Industrial design is provided for a limited time period of 10 years and it can be further renewed once for an additional limited time period of 5 years. Industrial design protection provides for geographical rights similar to those of trademark and patent Filed in India. The design protected is further limited to the country in which the protection is provided. Design can be protected by filling an application in the design office where all the designs are categorized according to the Locarno classifications for Industrial design. The application has to be submitted with the desired design along with its classification code and characteristics. After the application is submitted, if there is no objection from the third party then the protection for the design will be issued for the given limited time period.

Industrial designs along with providing an attractive character to the article or the creation, provides and promotes economic development by acknowledging and encouraging the creativity in the manufacturing, industrial and traditional art & crafts sector. It further promotes the culture and tradition by expanding the commercial and market activity by allowing the export of national products.

Usually a question arises when it comes to protecting the creation as to what protection will be more relevant. This segment will shed some light on the difference between the industrial design and patent.

  • Industrial designs protect the innovative exquisite or creative presentation or appearance of any article or creation of use whereas patent protects the technical improvement which is exclusive, unique and useful for correcting the existing technical problems.
  • Protection for industrial design is provided for a limited time period of 10 years which can be renewed once for an additional limited time period of 5 years whereas patent protection in India is provided for a limited time period of 20 years with no further extensions after 20 years.
  • When it comes to the maintenance of the right, fee for the renewal of protection of industrial design is required after 10 years whereas the annual fee for the duration of 20 years is to be given in case of patent Registration in India.
  • Protection for industrial design has to be applied before launching the ‘design’ in the market whereas the protection for patent has to be applied before launching the ‘product’ in the market.

Overall it is all based on the saying that ‘first impression is the last impression’ and when it comes to a product its appearance is its first impression and in order to encourage the formation of the designs which play an important part when it comes to increasing the market value of the product, it is necessary that the design be protected. What matters is “Think beyond just functionality, and look into eye appeal too!”

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