HOW CAN A DESIGN BE PROTECTED?
Industrial design involves a wide range of products and an equally broad specter of intellectual property. Trademark, design, patent and copyright are all possible forms of protection, depending on the product. In addition, the provisions of the Norwegian Marketing Control Act will often be applicable in a conflict.
There is a range of industrial designers, from completely anonymous employees to major international celebrities like Philip Starck. In many cases an industrial design can be a work of art and automatically enjoy protection as other works of art. In other cases it will not have the minimum distinctive character needed to obtain a design registration. The only thing which is certain is that if it is a success on the market place, it will be copied.
DO YOU HAVE AN EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO COMMERCIALISATION?
We experience that all types of products are copied and imitated, from cutlery to office chairs, from electrical switches to wood stoves, from basic design to actual works of art – there are no exceptions. Only those who have an active and conscious approach to their intellectual property have a chance of fighting against this and retaining exclusive right to their design and thus the possibility of exploiting it commercially.
With so many possible forms of protection and so many different products, it can be difficult to know whether your product can or should be protected, and what is the most effective form of protection for your product in particular.
It is equally difficult to know which products are such close copies that they can be stopped, and which must be tolerated, or which products you yourself can take to the market and which cannot as they have been inspired by others to a great degree.