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Industrial design: Future secured and sure

  • 01-Jul-2018
  • Articles|Technical Articles

The creator of industrial design enjoys exclusive IPRs by forbidding third parties from copying and selling the protected design for any commercial purpose, says Parimal Kowtal.

An Industrial Design (ID) constitutes the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of a product or an article. An industrial design may comprise of two or three dimensional features of a product or an article. The two dimensional features may be in the form of colours, lines, patterns or shapes in case of three dimensional features.

A design feature may be incorporated to make the product or an article distinctive through the process of manufacturing. The manufacturing process may also be used for mass production and for replication of the design feature. The manufacturing process to incorporate the design feature may be a single manual or automated process or a combination of processes. The 16th century pre-industrial revolution era in Italy and Germany led to the emergence of Pattern Books. The emergence of industrial design dates back to 1750. The St. Peter Instruction School, Lyons, France, employed draftsmen for preparing silk patterns. The mid 18th century industrial and mechanical revolution in Great Britain changed the concepts and tastes of industrial designing with broadened growth and diversified markets. With the advent of Computer Aided Designing (CAD), Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) further manifested the growth of industrial designing in niche sectors like jewelry, house ware, leisure goods, textile design, electrical appliances, automobile, apparels, architecture, handicrafts, medical and technical instruments.

Industrial designing is a professional service for creating specifications and developing concepts into a product form. The optimisation of the functions and appearance of the product or an article is mutually beneficial to both the manufacturer and the end user. The creative act of designing and detailing of the product or an article involves advance planning schedule with the help of individuals or a team.

Industrial design and product design overlap in many ways. An industrial design can be a design patent. Any industrial design does not include any mode or principle of construction or a mere mechanical device.

Industrial design right is exclusive intellectual property right pertaining to the visual designing of an object or an article and not only utility of the product or an article.

The creator of industrial design enjoys exclusive intellectual property rights (IPRs) by forbidding third parties from copying and selling the protected design for any commercial purpose. The Hague Agreement facilitates the design registration process for both domestic or national and international protection through a single application. The Hague Treaty is administered by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and enforced in member countries where the industrial design registration grant is sought by the applicant.

In most of the countries industrial design registration is mandatory in order to extend the protection under the prevailing industrial design laws of the country or region. In some countries industrial designs are protected under patent laws as Design Patent. Depending on the law of land and type of industrial design, the industrial design may also be protected as works of art under the Copyright Law.

In some countries, depending on the scope of design and duration of protection, the industrial design is termed as Unregistered Industrial Design. The duration of protection of the industrial design varies with countries, but usually is a minimum of 10 years period from the date of grant for protection. The successive renewal period for protection is of 5 years.

Industrial design registration is granted for creativity, novelty and originality. An industrial design is considered to be new or novel if it has not been disclosed in public domain and considered to be original if it significantly differs from known designs or combinations of known design features. Designs of books, calendars, maps, buildings or structures, flags, emblems or signs of countries, integrated circuit layouts, etc., are not protected under industrial designs act.

Similar to patent, industrial design registration and protection is granted by National or Regional Intellectual Property Office where the application is filed by the applicant.

The industrial design grant is based on Locarno Classification to classify goods and comprises of 32 classes and 219 sub-classes.

For example (refer Table 1), Class 10 designates clocks, watches and other measuring instruments, checking and signalling instruments.

The Locarno Classification is solely of an administrative character and does not bind the contracting countries as regards the nature and protection afforded to the industrial design classified in a certain manner. The Locarno Agreement requires the industrial property office of each contracting country to include in the official documents for the deposit or registration of industrial designs.

Parimal Kowtal is visiting faculty (IPR) in Department of Electronic Science, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune. For details, contact him on email:

Subclass 01: Clocks & alarm clocks
ID number Indications of Goods
101663 Alarm clocks
101664 Astronomical clocks
101661 Clocks
101666 Cuckoo clocks
104746 Digital calendar clocks
101665 Geographical clocks
101667 Grandfather clocks
101662 Regulators [clocks]
101668 Wall clocks


Subclass 02: Watches & wrist watches
ID number Indications of Goods
101671 Alarm watches
101673 Chronograph watches
101672 Pendant watches
104747 Smart watches
101670 Watches
101669 Wrist watches


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