What is an industrial design?
An industrial design constitutes the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. A design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color.
A Design is the appearance of an article produced by any industrial process or manually. It is that shape and decorative ornaments of a finished article to the eye that constitutes an industrial design.
To be protected an industrial design must be new or original and non-functional. This means and industrial design is primarily of and aesthetic nature, and any technical features of the article to which it is applied are not protected by the design registration.
Industrial designs protects the ornamental features associated with articles used in commerce
What kind of designs can be protected as industrial designs?
Industrial designs are applied to a wide variety of products of industry and handicraft: from technical and medical instruments to watches, jewellery, and other luxury items; from housewares and electrical appliances to vehicles and architectural structures; and from textile to leisure goods.
Advantages of registering a design
- Registration gives the owner the sole/ private rights to exploit the design commercially.
- Anyone who makes any product bearing a shape similar to a registered design can be sued for infringement.
- If the owner has lost interest in the design or has no means to produce products bearing the design he/she may decide to assign the design to others through licensing or contractual arrangements.
Why protect an industrial design?
Industrial designs are what make a product attractive and appealing; hence, they add to the commercial value of a product and increase its marketability.
When an industrial design is protected, this helps to ensure a fair return on investment. An effective system of protection also benefits consumers and the public at large, by promoting fair competition and honest trade practices.
Protecting industrial designs also helps economic development, by encouraging creativity in the industrial and manufacturing sectors and contributes to the expansion of commercial activities and the export of national products.
National Law on Designs
In Namibia industrial designs are administered under the Patents, Designs and Trademarks Act No. 9 of 1916 and proclamation 17 of 1923.
The Industrial Property Act 1 of 2012, in terms of which registration of industrial designs will be administered, has been enacted and implementation is awaiting the promulgation of the Regulations thereof.
How to protect your design nationally and abroad
National: register with the Business and Intellectual Property Authority
Regional: Apply through the Lusaka Protocol with ARIPO
International: You may want to register your design abroad to obtain protection in other territories. The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization provides a centralized registration system where you can e-file up to 100 designs and target over 66 territories in one single application which you could use to claim priority on in further filings. Namibia is a Member of the 1999 (Geneva) Act of The Hague Agreement. Any individual or business in Namibia can file an international application either with BIPA or directly with WIPO under The Hague System. For more information on filing an international application, geographical coverage and fees, and to get started, please go to www.wipo.int/hague/en .
For further information about industrial designs, contact:
Manager: Trade Marks Services
061 299 4400