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Multi - protection – Industrial Design and Patent/Utinity Model

Sometimes, it is difficult to separate the elements of functionality from those of the form of a product. Take the example of the shape of a vehicle, or the keyboard of a computer or laptop. How do you protect such composite designs, which are partly functional and partly aesthetic?


The industrial design law protects only the outward appearance of an article, and not its structural or functional features. Therefore, you should consider patent or utility model protection to obtain exclusive rights over the functional improvements of an article. In determining whether a design is primarily functional or primarily ornamental, the claimed design is viewed in its entirety, and not on a feature‐by‐feature basis. When a new product combines functional improvements along with innovative aesthetic features, it would be better to apply for one or more patents for the functional improvements and one or more design registrations for the aesthetic improvements.

Let us look at some examples. The radiator grille design at the front end of a car has functional aerodynamic features, but it also has aesthetic features and appeal that may be protected as an industrial design. Let us say you have designed a new or improved mobile phone. While a new or improved mobile phone may be the result of a technical breakthrough or significant evolutionary improvements to the electronic components that could be protected by one or more patents, the novel or original design of the digitaldisplay or icons on the screen of the mobile phone may be registered as an industrial design.

For further information, please follow the next contents, explore the world of intellectual property and chances that intellectual property may bring to your enterprise.