The aesthetic features of a functional article can be protected by registering an industrial design. Industrial designs are the visual features of shape, configuration, pattern, or ornament, or any combination of these features applied to a finished article. For example, the shape of a table or the shape and decoration of a spoon may be industrial designs.

Registering your industrial design will provide you with an exclusive right to your design for up to 20 years after you register.

In Japan, you can apply to register your industrial design at any time if your design has never been published (i.e., you have never made it available to the public). If your design has been published, you must file for registration within the next 6 months.

An industrial design application is typically a set of drawings of an article from different perspectives showing its aesthetic features. There is a short description of each drawing. If the application meets certain statutory requirements and the design embodied in the article is considered original, the industrial design can be registered by the Japan Patent Office.

A registered industrial design gives the owner an exclusive right to make, use or sell the functional article in which the design is embodied.

MARKS IP Law Firm assists you to obtain industrial design protection for your original designs. We advise on enforcement options and acquisition issues. In many cases, industrial design overlaps with patent or trademark rights. We have experience sorting out the multiple forms of protection that may be available for an innovative product.