Growth in Industrial Design Registrations Sporadic Over Past Decades

  • Trademark Clearance
Growth in Industrial Design Registrations Sporadic Over Past Decades

With the challenges posed by name saturation and the reduced availability of word marks, industrial designs are increasingly important within intellectual property strategies. However, growth continues to be sporadic.

Read on to learn about:

  • The difference between patents and industrial designs
  • Recent industrial designs registration trends
  • How you can swiftly search for industrial designs with Corsearch

What are industrial designs?

When people think about designs they typically think of patents, but the world of protecting designs is far more extensive than that. Essentially, patents protect the functionality of a design – what does the product do? Does it do it in a novel way that is sufficiently different from how other products do it? These and other questions are relevant in assessing registrability potential for patents.

However, Industrial designs focus only on ornamental value as it applies to the particular product. If you create a standalone design that you can then apply across a range of products, this will come under a different intellectual property registration system, such as a logo trademark.

Industrial designs must apply to provide ornamentation or increase the visual appeal of this particular product. This means that it must be developed for this specific product as a standalone design – although this should not be taken to indicate that it cannot have a relationship in many ways to your existing family of designs!

In the vast world of intellectual property protections and expanding consumerism, which increases competition for market share, companies are constantly seeking ways to distinguish themselves and their products, and industrial designs provide an important option to do so.

The rate of growth in industrial design registrations across the past few decades has been sporadic, with an interesting pattern of growth and contraction compared to other forms of intellectual property.

According to Statista[1], patterns in volumes of annual trademark registrations show a positive growth rate for the majority of years over the past decades. The most recent year that shows a contraction in growth rates was 2022, and the next was 13 years ago, in 2009.

The data range provided for patents is more extensive, covering the years 1996 – 2022[2] and illustrates an interesting pattern of 6-8 years of positive growth rates, followed by a single year of contraction and then another 6-8 years of positive numbers.

Data for industrial design registrations covers 2005 – 2021 and shows a much more sporadic pattern than trademarks or patents. From 2005 to 2012, all years showed positive growth rates, which were mostly substantial (with a few exceptions). There were contractions in 2013 and 2014 of -6.5% and -6.3% respectively. This was followed by a surge in growth of 21.5% in 2015 before dropping to -3.2% in 2016.

The years since have shown positive growth rates but have also shown small versus substantial growth rates in an annual alternating pattern. The growth rate was 0.8% in 2017, 14.6% in 2018, 3.9% in 2019, 19.3% in 2020, and 5.8% in 2021. Whether market forces, consumer trends, available investment capital, or other factors are driving the sporadic nature of growth rates in industrial design registrations remains to be seen. Still, as intellectual property protections are increasingly seen as a critically important revenue driver, growth in industrial design registrations will likely continue!

How you can swiftly search for industrial designs with Corsearch

Visual searching is necessary to clear potential industrial designs for registration as they are limited to ornamental characteristics. This can be a slow and inefficient process due to the need for manual construction of queries and the consequent production of large volumes of results, which must also be manually reviewed.

That’s where our new Industrial Design Search comes in. Corsearch customers can harness TrademarkNow’s award-winning AI image recognition to search for designs with lightning speed and pinpoint accuracy. Based on sophisticated similarity algorithms, Industrial Design Search will identify the closest matches to your target image within seconds.

Corsearch customers also benefit from the user-friendly UI long found within TrademarkNow. Trademark professionals can easily view matching results in tiles, access more information on pertinent results, add them to their reports, and download chosen results to a configurable Excel report.

Talk to an expert

Corsearch has a strong focus on industry expertise and innovation in supporting trademark professionals to keep pace in a fast-moving world. Click below to speak with an expert and see Industrial Design Search in action!