Understanding Industrial Design
What is Industrial Design?
Industrial design refers to the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article, encompassing both three-dimensional elements like shape and surface, and two-dimensional aspects such as patterns, lines, or colors.
Application of Industrial Designs
These designs span a vast array of products, ranging from technical instruments, medical devices, and luxury items like watches and jewelry to household appliances, vehicles, and architectural structures. They also extend to textile designs and leisure goods.
Nature of Industrial Designs
Primarily aesthetic, industrial design focuses on the visual appeal of an article and doesn’t pertain to its technical features.
Advantages of Registered Designs
Registering a design offers crucial benefits:
- Preventing Imitation: Owners can stop unauthorized copying of their designs by third parties.
- Commercial Value: Protection of designs adds commercial value, aiding marketing and ensuring a fair return on investment.
- Encouraging Fair Competition: Protecting designs fosters fair competition, leading to more diverse and visually appealing products, broadening consumer choice.
- Contribution to Economic Development: Industrial design protection aids a country’s economic growth by expanding commercial activities and enhancing export potential.
Disadvantages of Unregistered Designs
Not registering a design comes with downsides:
- Lack of Protection: Owners cannot prevent unauthorized copying or limitation of their designs by third parties.
- Discouragement of Fair Practices: Unprotected designs discourage fair competition and promote dishonest trade practices.
Who Can Apply for Registration?
Any person claiming ownership of a new or original design, not previously published anywhere globally, can apply for registration in Pakistan. The applicant need not be the original author; it can be the creator or someone for whom the design was executed.
What Cannot Be Registered?
Several aspects do not qualify for design registration:
- Designs deemed not new or original by the Registrar of Designs.
- Designs identical or similar to already registered ones, with immaterial differences.
- Functional designs solely dictated by an article’s function.
- Designs infringing on trademarks or containing copyrighted material.
- Designs reproducing emblems, names, or flags without proper consent.
Requirements for Registration
To register a design, an applicant must fill the prescribed form, provide representations of the design, pay the requisite fee, and submit an affidavit according to specified rules.
The Design Ordinance 2000 allows priority claims for WTO member countries if applied within six months of the priority country filing. An application for priority must be made on Form-16, accompanied by necessary representations and documentation.
Non-Completion of Registration
An application not completed within six months of filing due to the applicant’s neglect is considered abandoned.
Understanding industrial design nuances and the process of registration helps safeguard unique creations, fostering innovation and fair competition in various industries.