By: Tracy-Gene G. Durkin and Ivan Sempere

Design, in addition to brand, is a key factor behind purchasing decisions in the marketplace. Faced with products with similar functions and characteristics, consumers often choose one product over another because of its appealing design. For this reason, design is an important driver of innovation as brand owners endeavour to attract the attention of consumers with new and attractive products. Recognizing this, INTA created the Designs Committee in 2016, and its relevance, along with the size of the committee, has been growing ever since.

Design protection has become an essential part of brand management and has a direct impact on a brand’s reputation and image, especially for companies for whom success in the marketplace is closely tied to the quality and character of their designs. A prime example today is smartphones and other consumer electronics. It has also become more common for counterfeiters to leave the brand name or logo off of otherwise fake products in order to avoid infringement liability. Protection for the underlying product design, independent of any trademark rights, has therefore become essential to a successful brand enforcement program.

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