What is an Industrial Design?

   An Industrial Design is an idea for making an object more appealing to the eye. At the beginning of the industrial age, manufactured objects were not designed to be visually attractive. They were made in a certain form due to technical necessity. Early steam engines were not beautiful things, but an agglomeration of mechanical parts.

   Today, industrial design is a part of the successful marketing of almost all consumer products, from coat hangers to kitchen mixers to sailing yachts.

   Industrial design patents protect original features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation applied to manufactured articles.

   For example, a new water jug is unlikely to be patentable because its functional characteristics (container, handle, spout, etc.) are not new. But, if the outwardly visible shape or appearance of the new water jug differs from the shape and appearance of prior water jugs, then the shape and appearance of the new water jug is protectible by industrial design patent.