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What new in industrial designs - amendments 2015

The world does not stand still and develops at a frantic pace. New technologies are being developed and implemented, the already used facilities are being improved, innovative design solutions are being invented to attract customers, increase demand and improve functional characteristics of products. Every year the interest of manufacturers from different countries of the world is being increased to consolidation of their positions in sales markets and legal protection of their products from unfair competition.

To date, the Russian market, despite the sanctions, is one of the most attractive trade platforms for foreign manufacturers from different parts of the world. Proportion of applications for various intellectual property objects from foreign applicants in Russia is very high. The Russian legislation is keeping pace with the global changes in the intellectual property field and adapts to the needs of mankind. Throughout the history of its existence it has undergone a number of substantial changes. The last amendments occurred in 2015 and affected almost all intellectual property objects.

An industrial design - the appearance of a product or its portion - is one of the most important conditions for attractiveness of articles for consumers. What affects the choice of a consumer when buying goods? Functionality and design - whether it fits into the interior of an apartment, whether it looks stylish, whether it is pleasant and comfortable to use, etc. And if it concerns children's goods, then their external attractiveness comes to the fore.

Let’s review the cardinal amendments into the Russian legislation with respect to industrial designs.

1. Cancellation of the list of essential features

Now to apply for an industrial design to the Russian Patent Office it is sufficient to provide a set of drawings (views) revealing its essence, purpose and description. The patent will show the drawings and bibliographic data (names and location of the applicant and the authors, the name of the industrial design, the Locarno class, etc.).

Cancellation of the list equated the Russian and the European legislations and simplified the filing procedure of an international application designating Russia in the enumeration of the countries of interest.

2. Revision of the unity requirement

Several industrial designs can still be combined and filed within one multiple application. Before introduction of the amendments into the legislation designs were combined as variants of the same product, sets of articles and independent parts of a whole article, for example, a hairdryer with a stand was submitted in one application as a whole article and its two independent parts (a hairdryer and a stand). Now industrial designs can be combined as follows:

- variants;

- sets.

3. A new look at comparison of similar industrial designs

Earlier the examination compared presence of specific features without reference to the product as a whole and based on this, the conclusion was made about the unoriginal nature of the product due to the fact that, for example, in a cup the handle is made the same as in the other cup. Meanwhile, if you visually compare the cups – they are completely different and produce a different visual impression on a consumer, in other words, one can not confuse them.

Prior to introducing the amendments the examination would call into question the originality of a new article, stating that the C-shaped handle is an essential feature and presented in the cited product (see the illustrations) and, therefore, the claimed industrial design is not original.

Now, when comparing products, the emphasis is made on similarity of the overall appearance and overall impression produced. Therefore, at present time the claimed industrial design is considered original in comparison with the cited one despite presence of the C-shaped handle in the both cups. This, in the author’s opinion, is more correct, expedient and understandable for both the consumer and the manufacturer.

4. Extension of the novelty period requirement

The old version of the law gave applicants six months to file an application with the Russian Patent Office after disclosure the essence of the industrial design. Today a manufacturer has 12 months to assess how much the product will be profitable in the market and, in case of successful launch, submit an application and fix the exclusive rights for this product. This amendment is very convenient for manufacturers, since now they have more time to analyze whether the product will enjoy popularity in the market and on this basis take a win-win and financially advantageous decision on necessity of patenting of an industrial design.

5. Changing of the structure of the patent validity period

A patent for an industrial design can be still valid during maximum of 25 years. However, previously a patent was issued for 15 years with the possibility of a one-time extension for another 10 years, while annual fees for maintaining the patent had to be paid. Now the patent validity period is 5 years from the date of filing the application. This term can be repeatedly extended for 5-year periods. This is very convenient, since, having obtained a patent, you can forget about administrative prolongation procedure and enjoy the protection of your products.

Some other amendments have also been introduced including those related to the administrative procedures for filing of applications for industrial designs and issuance of patents.

In general, according to the author, the 2015 amendments have turned out to be successful and harmoniously blended in needs of a developing society. In connection with this an industrial design is becoming a very attractive intellectual property object, especially taking into consideration short timeframe and relative ease of registration and obtaining a patent and cheapness of the patent fees.

Author: Julia Nikoleva

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