What happens in the Industrial Design application process?

Region: Ontario Answer # 330

Applying for an industrial design is a complicated process and you should consider contacting a patent lawyer or a registered patent agent for assistance.

There are three main steps in the application process, and it will probably take about 6 to 12 months to register an industrial design. The three application steps are:

  1. The initial processing,
  2. Examination (including classification and search), and
  3. The official registration.

Initial processing

The initial processing occurs when the application is submitted to the Industrial Design Office of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), along with the required fees. The application is reviewed to ensure that it is complete. Updates to Canada’s Industrial Design laws have removed the standard form for filing an application. For more information:

If the application is complete, CIPO will send you or your lawyer or patent agent, depending on who submitted the application, a Notice of Filing informing you of the filing date. The Notice also gives you your application number. Your lawyer or patent agent should keep a record of this number and refer to it in all correspondence with the Industrial Design Office.

If the application is not complete, the Industrial Design Office will issue an Omission Notice to you or your lawyer or patent agent informing them of what is needed. You have two months for the missing information to be provided.

Formality Examination

When the application is complete and the filing date is established, it will be examined. The examination process usually takes three to six months. The application will be classified according to the type of article your industrial design is for. An examiner will review the application to make sure it complies with the Industrial Design Act and Industrial Design Regulations.

Substantive Examination and Search

The examiner will also conduct a prior art search for pending, registered and published designs in Canada and elsewhere to ensure that your design is not the same as or similar to another, previous design, and that your design is novel.

Approval or Examination Report

If there are objections with your application, the examiner will issue an Examination Report that details the examiner’s objections and indicates what information you need to add or what changes you must make to your application.  You have three months to respond in writing. If the examiner is satisfied with your response, or if there are no problems with the application, then it will be approved.

If the examiner’s concerns cannot be satisfied, the application will be rejected. Your lawyer can appeal this decision.


After an application is approved, the design will be officially registered.

The Industrial Design Office will send you a Notification of Industrial Design Registration, which is your proof of ownership. This notice includes:

  • a copy of the application,
  • the representation of the design,
  • a Registration Details Report, and
  • a Notice to Proprietors regarding the maintenance of exclusive right.

Information about the registered design will be entered in the Register of Industrial Designs, and you will then have the exclusive right in Canada to apply that design to an article for the purposes of importation, rent or sale.

Exclusive Right

Under recent changes to the Industrial Design Act, the maximum term of exclusive right of a design has increased from 10 years, to 15 years. This means that 15 years is the maximum time period for which your industrial design can be protected.

Specifically, your term of exclusive right:

  • begins on the date of registration and ends on the later of the end of 10 years after registration and 15 years from the Canadian filing date.

To maintain your exclusive right, a maintenance fee must be paid no later than five years after the registration date.

For more information about industrial designs and current government fees, refer to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.




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