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Industrial Design Office Practices

6. Examination

6.1 Industrial design subject matter


Industrial design means:

Features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament, or any combination of these features that are applied to a finished article.


This includes:

  • designs applied to articles that are sold separately, even if they are not normally used on their own. For example, a zipper is sold as a separate article, but in normal use, it is part of another article such as a piece of clothing or a handbag;

  • designs applied to combined articles consisting of two or more components that come apart and are separate articles in themselves, provided that such components combine to make a finished article, e.g., tray with lid;

  • electronic icons embodied in a finished article (Note: a new practice notice has been published for animated electronic icons. Please refer to the practice notice entitled, “Application for Protection of Computer-Generated Animated Designs”, January 16, 2017);

  • designs applied to "sets" as defined in section 2 of the Industrial Design Act;

  • designs applied to finished articles assembled from a kit, as per the definition of "kit" in section 2 of the Industrial Design Act;

  • designs applied to portable buildings and structures—preformed, portable and delivered to purchasers as finished articles or in sections to be put together by a simple operation such as bolting; and

  • designs applied to articles of indefinite length such as fabric and wallpaper.


Industrial design does NOT apply to:

  • design features in isolation—protection can only be obtained for design features that have been applied to a particular finished article;

  • the functional characteristics of an article, e.g., what the article does and how;

  • methods or principles of construction, e.g., what the article is made of and how it is assembled;

  • ideas or general concepts—only a specific design applied to a particular finished article can be protected;

  • the colour of an article (Note: the Office has changed its interpretation with regard to the registrability of colour. Please refer to the practice entitled “Update: Colour as a registrable feature of an industrial design”, May 2, 2017);

  • features of an article that do not have a fixed appearance, e.g., holograms; and

  • buildings and structures to be constructed on-site (not including structures that are preformed, portable and delivered to purchasers as finished articles, or in sections to be put together by a simple operation such as bolting).


6.4.5 Description identifying the features that constitute the design


Design applied to the entirety or a portion of the article

The description must indicate whether the design relates to the appearance of the entire article or to the appearance of a portion of the article. Further, if the design relates only to a portion, that portion must be clearly identified.


Which visual features

The description must make clear which of the visual features shown in the drawings comprise the design. For example, does the design consist of all of the visual features of the article or only certain specific features, e.g., only shape.

Any feature of the design referred to in the description must be visible in the drawings or photographs.

An application may include a more detailed description provided that the additional detail accurately describes design features visible in the drawings or photographs.


Highlighting important features

It is acceptable to highlight a particular feature that is considered to be an important feature of the design.


Words or letters

When letters or words are included in the drawings or photographs as features of the design, any description of those features must relate to their visual appearance. Words and letters per se are not the registrable subject matter of industrial design.



An application must relate to one design or to designs that constitute variants. To be accepted as variants, the designs must be very similar and possess the described features without substantial variation.



It should be clear in the description when the design applies to a set and the description should refer only to the design features common among all pieces of the set, e.g., the identical design or variants applied to each piece of the set. It is acceptable to indicate the location of these features on each piece of the set.


Figure reference

It is recommended that a figure reference be inserted at the end of the description when more than one drawing or photograph has been provided. The figure references should be restricted to describing the views seen in the drawings, i.e., perspective, front, back, top, bottom, left side, right side.

When an article is shown in an opened and closed position or in an extended and retracted position, the figure references should also make that clear, e.g., Figure l is a bottom view of the kettle and Figure 2 is a top view of the kettle showing the kettle with the lid in the open position.


6.5 Drawings or photographs


6.5.1 General requirements


Show entire article

The drawings/photographs must show the entire finished article to which the design is applied, even though the design may relate to the appearance of only a portion of the article.


Show fully-assembled article

Only the fully assembled view of the finished article will be accepted. Parts that are not visible in the completely assembled article are not registrable and should not be shown or labelled.

Show article in isolation

The article must be shown in isolation. The only subject matter that will be accepted aside from the illustration of the article are figure numbers, the names of the views, and the applicant's name/signature. Such written matter must not hinder the clear disclosure of the article (see also section below entitled "One view showing environment").

Clearly disclose design features

The drawings/photographs must clearly disclose all the design features identified and described in the description portion of the application.

It is acceptable to submit photocopies or scanned images if the article and the features of the design are clearly shown.


Drawings and photographs must be clear and legible and must be presented so that the Office can directly reproduce them in black and white.


Photographs should be numbered in sequence. It is suggested that the numbers be written, stamped or typed on the back of the photograph with permanent ink.


The drawings/photographs must include a sufficient number of views to show the features of the design clearly and accurately.

Two-dimensional, plan and elevation views are accepted, and it is recommended that a perspective view of the design be included since it discloses the article in three dimensions.

Views of the article in open and closed, or extended and retracted positions, may be included when it is necessary to reveal design features visible when the article is used in those positions.

Flexible articles

Articles such as clothing and cushions that are flexible may be shown flat or as they appear in use, provided that the features of the design are shown clearly and accurately.


All pieces of the set must be shown in the drawings or photographs.


It is preferable to group views of each variant together (i.e., consecutively). A sufficient number of views are required for each variant to clearly and accurately disclose the design features.


Annex B: Sample Drawings

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