Everything You Must Know About Industrial Design Protection in UAE
The design of a product remains one of the critical aspects of offering a unique identity. It is vital for brand communication, which is why brands spend immensely on creating eye-catching designs to represent their product. As brand communication gets intrinsically linked to the design of a product, design strategy needs to play a crucial part in the overall business strategy for modern businesses.
In this article, we will understand the significance of industrial design, how it differs from utility patents and trademarks, how it affects the consumer perception of a brand and how to formulate a business strategy vis-à-vis industrial design. Consult with patent agents in the UAE for further information.
What is Industrial Design?
Industrial Design can be categorized as a combination of lines and colours or any three-dimensional form with a unique impression. Since the design is regarded as the essence of a product and increases its visual appeal, protecting that design secures your unique brand identity. Its protection applies to various products, including jewellery, lighting, packaging, textiles, electronic goods and even logos. Usually, consumers perceive brands with bold, innovative designs as industry trendsetters.
Both patent and industrial designs are subsets of the intellectual property umbrella. While a patent is related to the protection of new inventions and focuses on functionality and content, industrial design is concerned with a product’s aesthetic value. Table 1 below lists the main differences between a utility patent and industrial design.
What are International Designs, Community Designs and National Designs of the EU Countries?
The International design system allows the applicants to secure design protection concurrently in many countries or regions via one international application in one language with one set of fees. Moreover, there is no need to file a regional or national design application once you have filed an international design application. Popular global design application routes are The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs and the Paris Convention Treaty. Consult with patent agents in the UAE to understand better.
Important Elements of a Design Patent Application
There are six important elements of a design patent application. They are:
Generally, the preamble is mentioned on the cover page of the published patent. It lists the name of the applicant, the title of the application, and occasionally a brief description of the article.
The title of a design patent application helps to identify the product and is usually the name by which the product is famous in the public domain. It also helps the examiner to identify the field of search of the prior-art and proper assignment of new applications to the relevant class and sub-class.
The claim is one of the more pertinent elements in a patent application since it determines the scope of protection. Anything outside the scope of the claim does not enjoy the protection. For a design patent, only one claim is sufficient that can describe the ornamental feature.
Drawings or Photographs
Clear and precise drawings bolster the chances of success of design patent application as it simplifies the task of an overburdened examiner to understand the inventions faster.
Description of Features
The figure description in the design patent applications helps to highlight the view as represented by each of the drawings, i.e., front elevation, side view, etc. Adding multiple views is not compulsory; however, it can better explain the design under examination.
Executed Oath or Declaration
The design patent application must also include the oath or declaration besides the drawings and specifications.
How Design Patent Infringement is conducted during Lawsuits?
An ordinary ‘observer test’ has emerged as the benchmark for deciding a design patent infringement. It states that if an ordinary observer finds two designs as substantially the same inducing purchase of an imitator design supposing it to be the original, then the original design patent is infringed by the imitator.
The premise of this is that a test conducted with a person versed in a trade can easily identify subtle or minor variations between similarly designed products as shown in Figure 7. This will destroy all the protection that is granted to the design patent in question. Under the extraordinary (expert) observer test, the only time design patent infringement will be established, is when two products are an exact replica of each other. Unfortunately in a practical situation, the exact replicas are never found. That is why the ordinary observer test stands strong in passing a definite judgment on design patent infringement.
Can The Same Design Receive Trademark & Design Patent As Well?
In multiple instances, the same design enjoys protection under trademark and design patent laws both. Some well-known examples of design trademarks that have also been the subject of design patents are the APPLE iPod® electronic music player, DUSTBUSTER® vacuum cleaner and the NIKE Air Max 1995® shoe upper. The confusion regarding registration arises out of the functional interpretation, i.e., de facto versus de jure functionality.
De Facto versus De jure Functionality
The shape, design, or feature of a product might have some function, but still, be registrable as a trademark or design patent. The reason is that the product might be de facto (in fact) functional but not so in de jure (in-law). This is despite the fact that trademark and design patent rules require the shape or ornamental features to be non-functional.
How can Jitendra Intellectual Property Help?
Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP) is a leading value-driven and technology-focused IP research company that provides reliable support services to the global IP community. With its presence across three continents, it offers service to Fortune 500 companies, law firms, start-ups and R&D organizations. Besides, through our Design Filing and Prosecution service, we help clients secure the registration of designs and keep track of deadlines related to design filings in the UAE. We have a team of highly qualified patent agents in the UAE who can protect your patents, industrial designs etc. across the GCC.