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Registering your industrial designs and integrated circuits

Things to know

Industrial designs

  • Registration gives the registrant the exclusive right to manufacture, import, sell and rent any article in respect of which a design is registered and to which the design (or a design not differing substantially from the registered design) has been applied
  • An aesthetic shape, configuration, pattern or ornament of useful objects or articles may be registered as an industrial design
  • The graphical user interface for a computer or mobile application may be protectable by industrial design
  • Colour is now a registrable design feature in Canada
  • An industrial design filed after November 5, 2018, once registered, will expire on the later of 10 years after the registration date of the design or 15 years after the filing date of the application

Integrated circuits

  • Registration protects the topography, or three-dimensional layout or configuration of electronic circuits, in integrated semiconductor chips and provides the exclusive right to reproduce the topography, manufacture integrated circuit products that incorporate the topography, and import or commercially exploit (i.e., sell and lease) the topography or integrated circuit products that incorporate the topography
  • A registration expires after 10 years from the application filing date or when the topography was first commercially exploited, whichever comes first

Things to do

Develop a registration strategy for Canada

  • Undertake a review of your industrial designs and integrated circuits and assess the costs and benefits of applying for registrations in Canada.


  • If you have filed an industrial design application in a member country of the Paris Convention or the WTO, and you are considering exploiting the same design in Canada, file an application for the design in Canada within 6 month of the filing date of that earlier application (to claim the benefit of the earlier filing date for the Canadian application).
  • Canada now accepts Hague industrial design applications designating Canada (similar to the PCT regime for patents).
  • If you have already published the design anywhere in the world, file the application to register the design in Canada within 1 year of the publication date.
  • An application to register an industrial design may be filed electronically with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) on its website. The application sets out, among other things, the applicant’s name and address, a description of the design, and drawings of the design.
  • An application to register a topography must be filed with CIPO in hardcopy. The application sets out, among other things, the applicant’s name and address, the date and place of first commercial exploitation if applicable, drawings/photographs of the topography, and a description of the topography’s nature or function.
  • If the industrial design or topography applicant does not (yet) have an office or place of business in Canada, a representative for service in Canada must be appointed for the purpose of receiving correspondence from CIPO. It is customary to seek legal advice and/or retain legal professionals to prepare and file the application and assist in the application process.
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