Canadian Design Protection

The Canadian Design system differs in several aspects from the UK EU system.

First, although it will allow a 12 month grace period for the design to be tested prior to registration, it does not have any form of unregistered protection and as such if this period is used the design will not be protected during that time. Where other applications have been filed prior to Canada these must not predate such an application by more than six months.

The Canadian design rules include the requirement that a design should have ‘eye appeal’ to
qualify for registration. Also part of the examination process includes a search of existing Canadian registered designs and designs published worldwide for comparison purposes. Where as both of these elements no longer forms part of the UK or EU registered design is a twelve months grace period in terms of disclosure/publication of a design.

A design will not be approved for registration if it falls under any of the following categories:

· designs that are utilitarian only and which are not intended to provide visual appeal

· designs that have no fixed appearance (for example, holograms)

· designs for components that are not clearly visible (for example, features that are hidden from view or features that are too small to have appeal to the eye)

· a method of construction

· an idea

· materials used in the construction of an article

· the useful function of the article, as this properly comes within the scope of patents

· colour (although one can protect a pattern that may be created by an arrangement of contrasting tones).

As part of the application a description which identifies the features for which registration is sought is required. In line with the requirement for ‘eye appeal’ the guidance provided by the Industrial Designs Office states that this must only include the visual aspects it should not refer to how the article was made, what it is made of, how it functions, its size or its dimensions.

Duration of right is shorter than the maximum period of 25 years offered under the UK Registered Design Act. Instead a period of 10 years is available subject to payment of renewal fee after the first 5 years.

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