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What is an industrial design?

Various legal means are employed around the world to protect industrial designs, which are often referred to as "designs." Industrial designs are intellectual property rights that safeguard the aesthetic appearance of a product, protecting its form rather than its function, which is protected by patents or utility models. The design of a product may comprise the shape, pattern, or colour of the product or a combination of two or three of these elements. Countries have different approaches to protecting industrial designs, with some enacting dedicated legislation, such as Japan, while others, like China, treat industrial designs as patentable solutions. Even in countries where industrial designs are protected by patents, different routes and practices are adopted. For example, China includes protection for inventions, utility models, and industrial designs in a single Patent Law. Italy and Uruguay, on the other hand, regulate the protection of utility models and industrial designs through a single piece of legislation but treat inventions separately. Protecting certain works of art, calligraphy, and photographic works may fall under copyright rather than industrial design protection in some cases.


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