What is an industrial design?

Important notice

This page is currently under revision to reflect changes to the industrial design regime that came into effect on November 5, 2018. We invite you to visit this page again shortly to learn more.

If you're producing distinctive-looking new products, you'll want to learn about industrial designs and find out about registering your designs.

Industrial designs are the features of a product that appeal to the eye: the contour of a car hood, the pattern of a knitted sweater, the shape of a computer monitor. Distinctive and attractive features like these give products a competitive edge.

If you produce distinctive-looking new products, you will want to register your designs.

What is an industrial design in Canada? - HTML5 Transcript

(Government of Canada signature and “Canada” wordmark)

(The video starts with an upbeat music that plays throughout)

On-screen text:

An industrial design can be a valuablebusiness asset


What is an industrial design in Canada?

(Multiple pictograms representing everyday designs come together to shape the map of Canada: smart phone, mp3 player, video game controller, lightbulb, etc.)

An industrial design is the original visual features of a finished product that appeal to the eye 

(hockey mask changes from a basic mask to more complex design elements with holes, visor, neck guard and maple leaf design)

(screen goes black simulating that our “eyes” closed shut)

It can be

(a multitude of bottle shapes appear)

a shape

(the silhouette of new bottle is drawn in the middle of the others)

a pattern

(another bottle appears with a pattern of maple leafs) 

an ornament

(a 3rd bottle appears with a moose antlers design on the neck of the bottle)

or any of these combined

(all three new bottles merge into one)

If you are designing a new product, make sure it’s original and stands out in the marketplace
protect your design by registering it

(a document symbolizing an industrial design certificate of registration)

Registration of your design confirms your exclusive right everywhere in Canada for up to 10 years!

(map of Canada in the background and a double digit counter runs quickly from “01” to “10” )

An industrial design registration gives you a competitive edge


Registration can help you protect your design,

(a lock)

prevent others from using your design,

(3 people with a banned symbol)

negotiate financing,

(a handshake)

license to others

(a symbol of a network with 3 people)

Your design rights can ultimately be sold

(a “sold” sign)

(short pause)

Learn more about industrial designs

Register them online

Visit Canada.ca/industrialdesigns

(Canada Wordmark (static flag))

Register industrial designs to protect your rights

When you register your industrial design, you gain exclusive, legally enforceable rights for up to 10 years in Canada. You may sell your rights or license others to make, use and sell your design.

To be eligible for registration, your design must be original; it cannot closely resemble another design.

Registration is intended to protect the product’s appearance—not what it is made of, how it is made or how it works.

Apply to register your design as soon as possible. Once the design has been published in Canada or elsewhere, you have only one year to file the application for registration in Canada.

Learn more about how and why to register in A Guide to Industrial Designs.

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