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November-December, 2015 Vol. 105 No. 6 Back to TMR Main Page
Deliberate Differentiation: Strategies for Creating and Protecting Iconic Designs (How Planning Trumps Serendipity in Pursuit of The Real Thing and Other True-Life Stories of Design Protection)
The products of the world’s most talented designers will not necessarily benefit from intellectual property protection; rather, specific strategies agreed on between product designers and their legal teams should be planned and executed with the goal of differentiating and protecting their products, keeping in mind the tactics of some specific companies whose iconic designs benefit from long-term intellectual property protection. This article highlights several examples of iconic designs and demonstrates how companies can plan for and purposefully deliver differentiation, and then protect and promote that differentiation to culminate in legal protection for iconic designs. The authors conclude that competition based on design differentiation generally promises greater profit margins and longer-lasting customer loyalty. Designers and intellectual property counsel can achieve this by ensuring their products stand out, ascertaining which design elements are present, determining what intellectual property protection is available for protecting those elements, and launching consistent marketing campaigns that establish and promote that differentiation to reinforce the type of protection the team has selected.