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Comparison Between Industrial Design and Copyright

Updated:2018-3-5 15:37:52    Source:www.tannet-group.comViews:258

Copyright and design registration can protect your artistic works and assist with ensuring that others don’t copy your design’s visual features such as shapes, patterns and configuration. There are a number of differences between copyright and design protection, and it’s important to understand these to determine the appropriate type of protection for your work. In this exposition, Tannet makes a brief introduction to the difference between industrial design and copyright protection in China.

Protection over your work
According to Chinese copyright law, copyright is an automatic right which attaches to original pieces of work where the creator can be clearly identified. It doesn’t require any registration or certification process, nor does it involve payment of any fees.

Copyright, as the name suggests, focuses on protecting a creator from others ‘copying’ their work. To claim copyright infringement and enforce copyright, the creator and owner of the work needs to show that the alleged infringer did, in fact, copy the original work. If on the other hand, the alleged infringer had come up with the same work independently, copyright would not be enforceable.

On the other hand, design rights are granted through a formal registration process. An application for design registration will be examined along with the design itself, and approved by the Registrar. Unlike copyright which is free, design registration requires the creator to pay a fee.

Design protection in this instance is more beneficial than copyright. It protects the owner against another person creating a similar or identical design, even in overall impression, regardless of whether it was inspired by the registered design or created independently. In this way, design registration offers a creator stronger protection of his or her artistic works.

Period of Protection
Copyright protection typically lasts longer than design protection. The general rule is that copyright protections lasts for 50 years beyond the author’s lifetime, whereas design protection is valid for 10 years from the date of application.

People usually register designs over work that has an industrial or commercial purpose such as jewellery, textiles or furniture. It is especially important to consider registering a design where the creator intends to make multiple copies as in the case of manufacturing, wholesale or retail. The first step before taking any decision on how best to protect your design is to understand the differences between these two forms of protection.

Contact Us
If you have further inquires, please do not hesitate to contact Tannet at anytime, anywhere by simply visiting Tannet’s website, or calling Hong Kong hotline at 852-27826888 or China hotline at 86-755-82143422, or emailing to You are also welcome to visit our office situated in 16/F, Taiyangdao Bldg 2020, Dongmen Rd South, Luohu, Shenzhen, China.

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