Are you trying to decide whether to register your Industrial Design in Canada?


By Etienne de Villiers, August 22nd, 2017

A Canadian Industrial Design registration protects original visual features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament, or any combination of these features, applied to a finished product. Industrial designs are commonly used to protect the outside shape and design of a wide variety of mass produced articles from light fixtures to kitchenwares. Industrial Designs do not protect functional features, they only protect a product’s appearance.

When you register your Industrial Design, you gain exclusive, legally enforceable rights in Canada for five years from the date of registration, and extendable to 10 years with payment of a maintenance fee. You may sell your rights or license others to make, use and sell your design.
In Canada there is a one year grace period to file an Industrial Design application after you make your design public anywhere in the world. It is still recommended to file an Industrial Design application as soon as possible since the design must be original and cannot closely resemble another person’s previously released design.

A Canadian Industrial Design application typically includes multiple views of the “finished article” representing the product in an assembled state. The views can be shown in photographs, but more commonly line drawings are used to ensure the design features are clearly captured. While only one view is required, please note that only features of the design included in the views provided are protected. Typically 6 views are recommended: top, bottom, front, back, left side, and right side. In some cases a perspective view is included, and identical views (e.g. identical left and right side views) may be represented by one of the two identical views.

...Outside Canada...

If you also plan to sell your products outside of Canada, then you might consider filing a Design Patent in the United States or a Community Design in the European Union. The first design application may support a priority claim in foreign countries as long as corresponding applications are filed within six months of the filing date of the first design application. For instance, a Design Patent may be filed in the United States, and within six months an Industrial Design application may be filed in Canada and claim the benefit of the earlier U.S. filing date. Using priority filings can simplify the process of filing multiple design applications in different countries.

So Should You Register An Industrial Design?

Registering an Industrial Design in Canada is an investment to help protect the appearance of your products. Obtaining an Industrial Design in Canada is much less expensive and time consuming than obtaining a patent making this an economical and effective form of industrial protection. While Industrial Designs only protect the look of a product, and not its function, in many cases the outer form of a product is part of its identity and marketability.

If you have any questions about Canadian Industrial Designs or are ready to start an Industrial Design application, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help. For more information please contact:

Etienne de Villiers, Partner

T: 416.995.8655

E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Randall is a partner of the firm and has been certified as a specialist in all areas of Canadian IP Law.
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