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Multi - protection – Design and Copyright

In some countries a design may be protected simultaneously by copyright law and by industrial design law. What does that mean? It is a very important and difficult question, which has to be answered frequently in the outsourcing of production to other countries and also in the context of exports.

Let us try and explain a complex area of law in a simple way. In many countries, one may obtain dual or cumulative protection for certain types of industrial design by copyright law as well as industrial design law [and not for others]. In some countries the two types of protection are mutually exclusive for all types of designs. In still others, the overlap or extent of dual protection varies considerably; for example, the copyright is suspended for the entire period during which registered design right subsists.

In some countries, works of applied art or artistic craftsmanship are protected by copyright. For example, in the USA, the designs of products such as toys are considered to be works of applied art and hence are protected by copyright.

When both options are available, the first step, before taking any decision on how best to protect a design, is to understand the differences between these two forms of protection in that country and to see whether one or the other or both together would better serve the objectives of the business.

The protection afforded by a registered industrial design is stronger, in that it covers even unintentional infringement. And the registration certificate is an important proof in case of its infringement. But registering a design may involve a significant financial and administrative effort, and it is of shorterduration than copyright protection. So making a choice between copyright

and design right is never automatic; in a given situation a decision should be made only after taking all the costs and benefits of both types of protection fully into account. Until a design is registered, it is generally advisable to keep good records of every step in the development of the design. Signing and dating each sketch, and properly archiving these, may greatly help in case of infringement.

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