A Guide to Industrial Designs (page 4 of 7)
How long does the process take?
The Industrial Design Office examines applications on a first-come, first-served basis. If your application is properly prepared, registration should happen quickly. If your application is incomplete, or incorrectly completed, the process will take longer. In order to shorten the time required for registration, it is recommended that you respond to Office reports as quickly as possible.
Should another person apply to register essentially the same design as yours, the application with the earlier filing date will be registered.
How long does registration last?
Registration is for a 10-year term, beginning on the date of registration. Before the expiry of five years and six months from that date, a maintenance fee must be paid or protection will end. Once the 10-year term is over, anyone is free to make, import, rent or sell the design in Canada.
What to consider before filing an application
The Industrial Design Office will give you the basic information you need to file your own application for industrial design registration; however, the Industrial Design Office cannot prepare your application, conduct a preliminary search of existing designs for you or provide an opinion about the aesthetic or commercial qualities of your design.
A good first step is to undertake a search of existing industrial designs. This will help you to determine whether your design is original, and it will also let you see other registered designs. The Industrial Design Office maintains records of all industrial designs filed and registered in Canada dating back to 1861.
Searches can be done by accessing the Canadian Industrial Designs Database. Interactive and simple to use, the database will allow you to perform simple but powerful searches on industrial design information free of charge. Searches can be conducted using the classification code, classification text, client reference number, court order number, name of current owner, date of registration, description, interested parties, and title.
A search can also be conducted in person at CIPO's Client Service Centre. As a first-time visitor, you may feel overwhelmed by the idea of searching through so many registrations. Intellectual Property Information Officers are available to help you with your search (though they cannot do the search for you). It is a good idea to consider engaging the services of a patent agent or searching firm for this work (please see below for information on registered patent agents).
Consider finding a registered patent agent
Drafting an industrial design application requires careful attention to detail and knowledge of the Industrial Design Act and Industrial Design Regulations. For this reason, you may wish to hire a legal professional who specializes in IP to prepare and "prosecute" (i.e., follow through on) your application. Hiring an agent is not mandatory, but is highly recommended.