The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines defines an industrial design as any composition of lines or colors or any three-dimensional form, whether or not associated with lines or colors; provided that such composition or form gives a special appearance to and can serve as pattern for an industrial product or handicraft. Simply put, it is that aspect of a useful article which is ornamental or aesthetic.
Generally, industrial designs are important for handicrafts, jewelry, mobile phones, packaging materials, furniture, electrical appliances, accessories, boxes, architectural structures and other products.
It is important to protect an industrial design because it enables the owner to prevent others from copying or imitating the industrial design without his consent. He can also prevent parties from importing, selling, manufacturing or making products bearing his industrial design.
In order to protect an industrial design, one must file an application with the Philippine Intellectual Property Office. The requirements for filing a new industrial design application are as follows:
1. Filing Letter;
2. Request for Registration of Industrial Design;
3. Specifications, Claims and Formal Drawings;
4. Special Power of Attorney executed by the authorized representative of the applicant designating a Philippine Firm as its attorney-in-fact and agent for the application;
5. If the applicant is claiming convention priority, a certified copy of the foreign application, together with an English translation thereof;
6. Payment of filing fees.
After an industrial design application is filed, it will be subjected to formality examination. If there are no issues or problems, the application will be recommended for publication and thereafter published. If there is no opposition or adverse information within two (2) months from publication, the application will be considered registered as of the date of publication. Finally, a Certificate of Registration will be issued by the Philippine Intellectual Property Office.
It must be noted that the registration of the Industrial Design shall be valid for five (5) years from the filing date of the application. It may be renewed for not more than two (2) consecutive periods of five (5) years each, by paying the renewal fee. Hence, in order to maintain these registrations, the registrant must pay the renewal fees within twelve (12) months preceding the expiration of the period of registration.
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