A Design is a legal right giving the owner the right to a monopoly in the shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation of a product, typically for a term of 10 years. The owner of a registered design can prevent other businesses from copying their design.
General Information on Industrial Designs
Design protection is directed to the distinctive visual appearance of articles. In the United States, this form of protection is termed a “design patent”.
A registered design application may be directed to the three-dimensional shape of a product, or a two-dimensional pattern applied to the surface of a product. Design law may be used to protect a broad range of articles including goods as diverse as clothing, electricals, furniture, toys, and automotive spare parts.
Design protection is generally easier to obtain than a patent; however the term of protection is relatively short at 10 years. It is also important to remember that design protection does not cover how a product actually works, but just its appearance.