Industrial Design

What is an industrial design?

According to industrial property Act 2001, an industrial design is defined as "any composition of lines or colours or any three dimensional form whether or not associated with lines or colours, provided that such composition or form gives a special appearance to a product of industry or handicraft and can serve as pattern for a product of industry or handicraft" .

In other words an industrial design is concerned only with the outward appearance (eye appeal) of articles as defined by their shape, configuration, pattern or ornament. It must be understood that an industrial design DOES NOT protect the method of construction or the function of the article.

Visual appeal is one of the considerations that influence the decision of consumers to prefer one product over another, particularly in areas where a range of products performing the same function is available in the market. If the technical performance of the various products offered by different manufacturers is relatively equal, aesthetic appeal, along with cost, will determine the consumer's choice. The legal protection of industrial designs, thus, serves the important function of protecting one of the distinctive elements by which manufacturers achieve market success. By rewarding the creator for the effort, which has produced the industrial design, the legal protection accorded thus serves as an incentive to the investment of resources in fostering the design element of production.

Does an industrial design registered in Kenya give protection abroad?

The answer is NO. An industrial design registered in Kenya is effective only in Kenya but the Kenyan application can be used to establish a priority date for a separate application made in another country.


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