Industrial designs (or design patents in the United States) are gaining a higher profile as part of a company’s intellectual property (IP) strategy. Designs were central in the Apple v. Samsung patent battles. Protection now extends beyond product design to retail store layouts, user interfaces, and animated icons.
Below are some highlights of the practice and regulation changes.
Companies can benefit from the following welcome practice changes, which make it easier to leverage practice similarities with Europe and the United States, among other jurisdictions:
- Applications can be filed electronically using PDF files, which will help avoid drawing quality objections
- Drawings can now include a mix of photographs and line drawings, and more than one figure showing environment; permissible variants can now include a mix of solid and stippled lines.
- Term of protection: increased to maximum of 15 years from filing (minus prosecution time), and minimum of 10 years from registration
New Filing Options
As of November 5, 2018, companies filing an international design application under the Hague agreement can select Canada as one of the countries for protection, filing a single application with a single fee. It will still be an option to file an industrial design application directly in Canada.