Creating unique designs is the key to having clients trooping to your home improvement business. If you have been in the industry for a while, you probably know how time and resource-intensive creating new designs can be, and the last thing you want is to have somebody making money out of your efforts without your consent.
Given your efforts to create unique designs, you may wonder if there is a way of protecting them as industrial designs. The short answer to your question is yes. But the short answer may not be sufficient to answer all your questions, so you may want to keep reading for a more comprehensive answer.
What Are Industrial Design Protections
Industrial design refers to the aspects of products that are apparent visually, such as shape, configuration, ornamentation, lines, colors, and texture, among others. They are registrable as intellectual property in all jurisdictions, but the application of the law may vary slightly.
Industrial design protections only focus on the product’s visual appeal, so the product’s functionality doesn’t have to be unique to qualify for industrial design protections. The only requirement is that the product’s design is new and distinct from any other product in the market.
For example, if you create a unique kitchen top in terms of shape, pattern, and texture, your design could qualify for design protection even when the kitchen top is not new.
Period and Scope of Protections
If your designs qualify for registration, you will get a certificate from the registering entity in your country to prove your designs’ ownership. But there are limitations to these protections. The first limitation is the period the protections are enforceable. In most countries, industrial design rights are enforceable for between 10 and 15 years.
In Canada, industrial design rights for your home improvement designs will last for 15 years from the date of filing for registration or ten years from the registration date. The reasoning behind protecting industrial designs is to give the creator a headstart in profiting from their designs. After the expiration of the protections, anyone else can replicate the design without violating the designer’s rights.
The second limitation is in the reach of protection. Like other intellectual property rights, industrial design protections are only enforceable in the countries where they are registered. For example, if you register your designs in Canada, you will only enjoy protections in Canada. But you could extend your scope of protection by registering them with a global intellectual property entity like the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which offers protection in over 190 countries.
Benefits of Registering Your Décor and Building Designs as Industrial Designs
There are many advantages of industrial design registration, but the most important is getting exclusive rights to use your designs. Even when you may not replicate your designs for different clients, your unique design becomes your selling point and can help keep clients streaming to your business.
Having exclusive rights to your designs means you have the legal authority to stop others from infringing on those rights. Also, you could create an extra revenue stream by earning royalties from entities you license to use your designs.
The exclusivity period to your rights allows you ample time to build a reputation with your products so that clients will still consider your craft superior to your competitor even after your protections lapse.
Creating unique designs takes a lot of work. You can safeguard your designs by registering them for industrial design protection. If industrial design protection is a new concept, the above ideas should help you better understand the concept. However, you may still need to work with an IP expert when navigating the registration process.