An industrial design, also known as design patent, is a form of intellectual property protection. Its aim is to protect the visual aspects of an article. These are its design, shape, pattern or ornament. This means that it concerns the aesthetics and appearance of a product, not its functionality. It does not protect intangible goods that are not visible to the eye. As such, an industrial design is different from a patent which aims to protect an improvement in functionality.
Benefits of industrial design protection
Some of the general advantages of a registered industrial design are:
- Provision of exclusive rights: It prevents unauthorised imitations of protected designs by third parties. This means that somebody besides the owner of the industrial design will not be allowed to make, sell, export or import articles bearing or embodying a design which is a copy, or substantially a copy, of the protected design, when such acts are undertaken for commercial purposes, without consent from the owner. This may result in substantial return on investment since the owner is the only one marketing its goods.
- Facilitation of marketing and commercialisation: Industrial designs are aimed to lure and appeal to customers. As such, they are important elements of a company’s brand. In fact, they can be considered as business assets which may increase the market value of a company and its products and facilitate their marketing and commercialisation. The success of a product is usually influenced by its appearance. This is because today’s society has an aesthetic-driven consumer base that focusses on product looks as well as functionality.
- Generation of revenue: Industrial design rights can be sold or licensed to another enterprise. This will generate revenues for the owner. For instance, if you do not wish to or are unable to manufacture the product protected by your industrial design, you may be able to sell or license your design to another entity and earn a royalty on their sales.
- Court proceedings: If your industrial design rights are infringed upon, such as someone is making, selling or importing a copy without your content, you can initiate court proceedings and be awarded damages for the lost sales that you have incurred as a result of the infringement of your design registration.
Requirements for registering a design in Mauritius
A design can be filed for registration if it is new. This means that it has not been disclosed to the public anywhere in the world, a tangible form has not been published or it has not been used in any way prior to the filing date or the priority date, when applicable.
However, disclosure made to the public within 12 months prior to the filing of the priority date by the applicant, as a result of, or by consequence of, an abuse committed by a third party will not destroy the ‘newness’ of the application.
The application has to contain relevant drawings, graphic representation and an indication of the article to which the industrial design relates to. If the industrial design is two-dimensional, a specimen of the article has to be included in the application.
If you wish to register your design, you can get in touch with one of our agents. Our firm will advise you on how to proceed by simplifying the steps and will accompany your business throughout the IP protection process.