Policy and Advocacy
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Policy and Advocacy
Board Resolutions
Guidelines for Examination of Industrial Designs

November 6, 2018
Sponsoring Committee:  Design Law and Practice Subcommittee of the Designs Committee 


WHEREAS, in November 2017 the Board of Directors of the International Trademark Association adopted the Model Design Law Guidelines which has served as a standard for the Association’s analysis of and comment on national and regional design laws and regulations;

WHEREAS, the International Trademark Association from time to time is required to analyze and comment on national and regional design examination guidelines and the practices of Industrial Property Offices; and

WHEREAS, the Designs Committee has recommended Guidelines for Examination of Industrial Designs to serve as a baseline standard by which INTA can analyze or comment on proposed or adopted examination guidelines and provide guidance to Industrial Property Offices;

BE IT RESOLVED, that the International Trademark Association adopts the attached Guidelines for Examination of Industrial Designs to serve as a baseline standard for the practice of Industrial Property Offices in the examination of design applications.


In order to advance its goal of harmonization of trademark office practice, INTA adopted in 1998 its first ever formal Guidelines for Trademark Examination. These guidelines have been presented to trademark offices worldwide over the years and have served as an effective reference document for the Association to provide guidance to those offices. 

With the inclusion of design rights as a new area of intellectual property within INTA’s mission and the establishment of the Designs Committee in 2016, the Association seeks to create policy in respect of design rights independently of their impact on trademark law and practice.  

In November 2017, the Board of Directors adopted the Model Design Law Guidelines, which suggest a minimum set of standards for design laws to enable the Association to comment on proposals by a jurisdiction looking at implementing design law for the first time, or a jurisdiction amending its design law.  The Model Design Law Guidelines have already been used by the Designs Committee and the Association generally in responding to a number of consultations relating to national or regional design laws, across the world, thus affording INTA the opportunity to demonstrate its expertise in this area and to improve design law for brand owners and consumers worldwide. 

The Designs Committee considered it necessary for the Association to create and adopt similar global standards for the examination of design applications, in order to effectively advocate for harmonization of design right practice.  

The Guidelines project was launched in the 2016-2017 term of the Designs Committee. Building on the work carried out in the previous term, the Design Law and Practice Subcommittee carefully examined and analyzed trends in worldwide design examination practice and, in putting together the draft Guidelines for Examination of Industrial Designs, drew on both existing and proposed design right examination best practice, as well as INTA members’ expertise worldwide.  In drafting the Guidelines, committee members considered and had due regard to the Association’s Guidelines for Trademark Examination. 

The Guidelines are written in a jurisdictionally neutral way and enable INTA to take positions entirely focused on design examination practice.  

Input was provided from the Designs Committee as a whole and the Guidelines for Examination of Industrial Designs were also reviewed by and discussed with the Association’s Advocacy Group Council.