Industrial design is the process of conceiving, creating and developing concepts that optimize the appearance of products such as to add value. A good example of industrial is the aesthetic appearance of certain automobiles and consumer electronic goods such as mobile phones or portable computers which make the goods more desirable and appealing to the consumers. Industrial design also serves as a tool to differentiate your product from the host of competing products in the market by giving them a distinct look which is associated with value and a premium feel. The industrial design also conveys to the consumer the design language of a certain manufacturer with which they may associate and form a brand following around that aspect of the product.
Industrial Design and IPR
Industrial design as it is understood under the Indian law, therefore is the aesthetical aspect of the product which has an intrinsic economical value attached to it. There is also an association which the consumer form with that industrial design which further strengths the case for its economic significance. Therefore the protection of the industrial design as an asset is essential to ensure that the companies who developed the industrial design benefit from their work. By protecting the industrial design of the creator, the consumers are also protected since they can rest assured that the product which they are purchasing is the product from a certain producer of goods. This aspect also develops further and can be protected under Trademark Law as trade dress in addition to being protected as an Industrial Design.
Why register your Industrial Design internationally?
Markets globally have evolved out of the “substance over form” mind set where the functionality of the product was paramount and its aesthetics did not matter as much. The shift can be seen distinctly in the evolution of mobile phones over the years. First generation mobile phones were all about functionality and looked rather displeasing to the eye but that didn’t make any difference since in those markets back then appearance mattered little and functionality was what drove sales. With maturation of the market and technology there were more players in the market which pushed the producers to look beyond mere functionality which was essentially the same in all competing phones. Increasingly focus shifted towards the aesthetical aspect of the mobile phones which became the key differentiator in the market place.
Different Industrial designs were developed based on the market categories such as products targeting teenagers are designed differently while phones used by older people have a distinctly different industrial design approach to them.
Economic value is now attached to the way a product looks and therefore the Industrial Design deserved protection not just domestically but globally when the products are sought to be exported to international markets from India.
This is especially important for those who produce goods for sale in international markets and one such prominent industry in India is the textile industry which exports goods worth billions of rupees to markets globally. Fashion designers must particularly take note of the protection which is offered by Industrial Design registration and must proceed to secure registration not just in India but in all countries where they export their goods to.
We at Singhwal have a team that handles Industrial Design application Filing across jurisdictions. Our team has expertise in international filing of industrial design as well. For many other countries International filing of Industrial Design is done through a WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) administered treaty, Hague Agreement officially known as “Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs”. The Hague Agreement comprises of two international treaties: namely The Geneva Act of July 2, 1999 and The Hague Act of November 28, 1960. As of 2018 there are 69 signatories to the Hague Agreement. This agreement allows creators to file Industrial Design application in multiple countries through a single application. However, India is not signatory to this treaty so we assist our clients in identifying countries where they should consider filing the Industrial Design application. We also assist our clients to file in individual countries through our international associates across jurisdictions. In absence of Hague treaty, the International covenant applicable is Paris Convention.
According to Paris Convention, an Indian Design application can be filed in other signatory countries of Paris Convention within 6 months of filing in India. For filing in foreign jurisdiction, we assist our clients by identifying effective attorneys and develop a working relationship with them and manage the entire process as per the specific instructions of the clients. We also enlist local attorneys through whom the applications are filed and any objection which may arise during the course of the application are also effectively dealt with through our foreign associates.
Every countries has its own Laws governing the grant of Industrial Design registration and rules and regulation to govern the same. These laws and rules regulations are typically complicated and involve steps and processes which are non-existent in India.
At Singhwal we’re determined to provide the best value to our clients. We innovate to propose cost effective and sound legal solutions to our clients. An example of the same is our approach to filing international applications despite the fact that India is not a signatory to the Hague agreement. Taking advantage of the Paris Convention we formulate filing strategies which can give our clients the benefit of both the Paris Convention as well as The Hague agreement. After evaluating the requirements of our clients we identify a list of jurisdictions where our clients does business and ascertain jurisdictions which are signatories to the Hague Agreement. Assuming one of the countries where the client has business operations is a signatory, we file an Industrial Design application in India and under Paris convention we enter that jurisdiction file Industrial Design applications through the Hague agreement route provided the client has a real economic presence in at least one of the contracting states to the Hague Agreement. This allows our client to make a single application under the Hague agreement and enter various other signatory jurisdictions to the agreement with the Industrial Design application. This approach considerably reduces the amount of time it takes to process the application at the attorneys end and makes it easier to prosecute and manage the applications remotely.
Some prominent jurisdiction in the Hague agreement include United States of America, The United Kingdoms, The European Union, Japan, Russia and Singapore. Industrial Design applications can be made through the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
We at Singhwal put our brightest minds to work to interact with the Clients and the international associates in order to establish a bridge of communication and also add value by simplifying the legal and administrative process and guiding our clients in every step of the process. Industrial Design applications are subject to renewals and extensions depending in the local laws in each countries. We also assist our clients in monitoring the status of the Industrial Design applications in each of those countries and prompt our client as and when their registered Industrial Designs in each of those countries require their attention or inputs
At Singhwal we extend our support to keep the granted design in order along with proper renewals and maintenance.
Further having your industrial design registered is not enough, swift and timely action must be taken to identify possible infringers and take adequate legal action against each of them in order to secure the rights and enjoy the financial benefits. Attorneys at Singhwal collaborate with the attorneys in each of those countries and ensure smooth and effective enforcement of the Industrial Design rights in foreign jurisdiction through hand-in-hand support of our associates.