Area of Law: Intellectual Property
Answer # 326
Why register an Industrial Design?Region: Ontario Answer # 326
There are several reasons why you should register an industrial design.
First, the law requires that in certain circumstances you must register an industrial design to protect you from unlawful imitation of the design. By registering your design with the Industrial Design Office of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), you can protect the investment that you made to create or acquire the design.
Second, you can prevent other people from making, using, or selling your design for up-to 10 years if it is registered. If you do not register the design and the article is mass produced for the public, you will have no legal claim of ownership and anyone can imitate or copy the design.
You must apply to register the design in Canada within one year from the day you first publish the design application in the world. A public sale of an article having the design is an example of a publication.
Who can be a registered owner of a design?
The owner is sometimes the person who created the design. However, if someone was hired to create a design, the owner is the person who hired the creator. An owner can also be someone who acquires the rights to a design. All assignments of ownership should be registered.
Different registration rules if design has not been published
There are different registration procedures for industrial designs depending on whether the design has been published. An industrial design is published when it is made available to the public. If a design has been published, an application in Canada must be made within 12 months of the first publication anywhere, or you will lose your ability to seek exclusive ownership rights. If a design has not been published, there is no time limit for registration. However, if you delay, someone who has created the same design may register it before you, and you could lose any rights you might have obtained in the design.
New Industrial Design Act
On December 16, 2014, Bill C-43 received Royal Assent, amending the Industrial Design Act to make it consistent with the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. The new Act is not yet in force.
Under the new Act, exclusivity of a design will increase from up-to 10 years to up-to 15 years.
For more information about industrial designs, refer to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
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