When we speak of industrial design, we think about the three-dimensional (for instance: an armchair or a car) or two-dimensional (an image, ornament etc.) appearance of the entire product or a part of it, defined by its features, in particular the lines, contours, colors, shape, texture and materials of the product itself or its ornamentation, as well as their combination . Therefore, design can be applied to home and electrical appliances, sunglasses, aircraft, jewelry, watches, furniture, medical instruments, etc. It is important to emphasize that IP law protects the appearance of the product and not the product itself nor its function.
Industrial design belongs to the aesthetic field since it has an artistic value. However, the design has to be suitable for industrial application, which means that it can contribute to the commercial value of the product. In other words, the design has to be reproducible by industrial means, which is why is called ‘industrial’. If the aesthetic nature prevails, this falls under a definition of artistic work which the author can protect by means of copyright.
Furthermore, industrial design plays a great role in marketing, since an attractive design can increase the sale. There is no doubt that a lot of products owe their success on the market to their catchy appearance. Consumers are heavily influenced by the appearance of the product and design is often crucial in their choice. Moreover, growing importance of designs in the marketplace causes the change in perception of the industrial design as the least important IP right. Therefore it is important to prevent competitors from unauthorized copying. You surely want for your product to be that sparkling drop in the ocean which will attract customers.
People throughout history protected all kinds of products, from hairpins, flowerpots or air-conditioners to street lamps and fountain pen. The National Database of Industrial Designs provides a possibility for conducting research of designs which have been registered since 1944. It is interesting that the very first protected product was bandage which was registered back in 1944.