expedited examination of design applications: Intellectual Property Terminology Explained

Glossary, Patent Law and Patent Bar Review

In the world of intellectual property, understanding the different terms and procedures can be quite challenging. One such procedure that plays a vital role in protecting designs is expedited examination of design applications. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to expedited examination and also explain some key terminology associated with intellectual property law.

Understanding Intellectual Property: A Brief Overview

Before diving into the details of expedited examination, it is essential to understand the importance of intellectual property. Intellectual property refers to the creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. It provides legal protection to encourage innovation and creativity while enabling creators to profit from their creations.

Intellectual property rights are crucial for individuals and businesses alike as they promote economic growth, encourage investment in research and development, and foster cultural diversity.

The Importance of Intellectual Property

Intellectual property plays a significant role in today’s knowledge-based economy. It provides incentives for creators by granting them exclusive rights to their creations. These exclusivity rights allow creators to monetize their work and prevent others from using or reproducing it without permission.

Without intellectual property protection, creators would have little incentive to invest time, effort, and resources into developing new ideas and inventions. Intellectual property rights contribute to economic growth, job creation, and technological advancements.

Moreover, intellectual property rights also foster cultural diversity by protecting traditional knowledge, folklore, and indigenous cultural expressions. By acknowledging and safeguarding these cultural assets, intellectual property laws help preserve and promote the rich heritage of different communities around the world.

Different Types of Intellectual Property

There are several types of intellectual property rights, each serving a specific purpose. The main categories include:

  1. Patents: These protect inventions and provide exclusive rights to the inventions for a limited period. Patents encourage innovation by rewarding inventors with temporary monopolies to exploit their inventions commercially.
  2. Copyright: Copyright protects original literary, artistic, and musical works, such as books, films, and songs. It grants the creator exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and publicly display their work.
  3. Trademarks: These are used to distinguish and protect brand names, logos, and slogans from competitors. Trademarks allow businesses to build brand recognition and prevent others from using similar marks that may cause confusion in the marketplace.
  4. Designs: Design rights protect the appearance of a product or its features. They cover the specific shape, pattern, or ornamentation of an object and prevent others from creating similar designs without permission.

Additionally, there are other forms of intellectual property rights, such as trade secrets and geographical indications. Trade secrets protect valuable business information, such as formulas, manufacturing processes, and customer lists, which give companies a competitive edge. Geographical indications, on the other hand, identify products originating from a specific geographical location and possess qualities or a reputation attributable to that origin.

Understanding the different types of intellectual property rights is essential for individuals, businesses, and policymakers. By recognizing and respecting these rights, we can foster an environment that encourages innovation, creativity, and fair competition while safeguarding the rights of creators and promoting economic growth.

What is a Design Application?

In the context of intellectual property, a design application refers to the process of seeking legal protection for a new and original design. Design rights protect the visual appearance of an object, encompassing its shape, configuration, pattern, and ornamentation.

The Role of Design in Intellectual Property

Design is a crucial aspect of intellectual property, as it relates to the aesthetic appeal and functionality of a product. By protecting designs, intellectual property laws promote innovation and creativity in industries such as fashion, industrial design, and consumer goods.

Design protection ensures that creators can enjoy exclusive rights over their unique designs, preventing unauthorized copying or imitation by competitors. This protection encourages designers to invest in the creation of new designs, driving product diversity and consumer choice.

The Process of Filing a Design Application

Filing a design application involves submitting the necessary documents and fees to the appropriate intellectual property office. The application should include a clear and concise representation of the design, along with any relevant supporting materials.

Once the application is filed, it undergoes a thorough examination process to determine its eligibility for design protection. This examination involves assessing the novelty, originality, and distinctiveness of the design and comparing it to existing designs in the same field.

If the design application meets the necessary criteria, it will be granted design protection, and the applicant will receive a certificate of registration. This certificate serves as evidence of the exclusive rights granted to the design owner.

During the examination process, experts in the field carefully analyze the design application to ensure that it meets the legal requirements for protection. They scrutinize every detail of the design, considering factors such as the overall impression it creates, the level of creativity involved, and the extent to which it differs from existing designs.

In addition to the visual aspects, the functionality of the design is also taken into account. If the design serves a practical purpose or improves the usability of a product, it may strengthen the case for design protection.

Furthermore, the examination process may involve conducting a search for prior art, which refers to existing designs that are similar to the one being applied for. This search helps determine the novelty and originality of the design, ensuring that it is not already in the public domain.

Once the examination is complete, the applicant will be notified of the decision. If the design application is rejected, the applicant may have the opportunity to amend or appeal the decision. If it is accepted, the design will be registered and the applicant will gain exclusive rights over it.

Registered designs are typically valid for a certain period, which varies depending on the jurisdiction. During this time, the design owner can take legal action against anyone who infringes on their rights by copying or imitating the design without permission.

Overall, the design application process plays a vital role in protecting and promoting innovation in various industries. It encourages designers to create new and original designs, knowing that their efforts will be rewarded with legal protection and the ability to commercialize their creations.

Expedited Examination of Design Applications: A Closer Look

Expedited examination is an option available in some jurisdictions to speed up the review process for design applications. It allows applicants to have their designs examined and granted protection in a shorter timeframe compared to the standard examination process.

Reasons for Seeking Expedited Examination

There are various reasons why applicants may opt for expedited examination of design applications. Some of the common reasons include:

  • Commercial Urgency: When there is a pressing need to protect a design quickly due to market competition or potential infringement.
  • Trade Show or Exhibition: If the designer intends to showcase the design at an upcoming trade show or exhibition and requires the protection to prevent unauthorized copying before the event.
  • Legal Dispute: When there is an ongoing legal dispute or potential infringement, seeking expedited examination can help resolve the issue more efficiently.

The Procedure for Expedited Examination

The procedure for expedited examination varies depending on the jurisdiction. In general, applicants need to demonstrate valid reasons for expediting the examination process and submit the required documentation and fees.

Once the request for expedited examination is approved, the design application undergoes a prioritized examination by the intellectual property office. The examiner reviews the application and determines its eligibility for design protection based on the relevant criteria.

If the design application meets all the requirements, including novelty, originality, and distinctiveness, it will be granted expedited protection. The applicant will receive the certificate of registration in a shorter timeframe, allowing them to enforce their exclusive rights more promptly.

Intellectual Property Terminology: A Comprehensive Guide

As with any specialized field, intellectual property has its fair share of terminology and legal jargon. Understanding these terms is essential for individuals and businesses seeking design protection or engaging in intellectual property-related activities.

Commonly Used Terms in Intellectual Property Law

Here are some key terms you may encounter when dealing with intellectual property law:

  1. Infringement: Refers to the unauthorized use or reproduction of intellectual property protected by law, such as copying a design without permission.
  2. Licensing: The granting of permission by the owner of intellectual property to another party to use the property in exchange for payment or other agreed-upon terms.
  3. Prior Art: Any design or invention that existed before a specific filing date and may affect the eligibility or novelty of a new design or invention.
  4. Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA): A legal contract that ensures confidential information shared between parties remains protected and cannot be disclosed to third parties.

Understanding Legal Jargon in Design Applications

When preparing a design application, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the specific terminology used in the process. Some key terms to know include:

  • Ornamental Design: A design that is primarily based on aesthetic considerations rather than functional features.
  • Novelty Requirement: The standard that a design must be new and original to qualify for intellectual property protection.
  • Claim: A statement within a design application that defines the scope of protection sought for the design.
  • Grace Period: A specified timeframe during which a design can still be considered new and original even if it was publicly disclosed by the designer.

Case Studies: Expedited Examination in Practice

Examining real-life cases helps shed light on the practical applications and outcomes of expedited examination for design applications.

Successful Expedited Examination Cases

In one notable case, a fashion designer sought expedited examination for a unique clothing design. The designer needed prompt protection due to an upcoming fashion show where they planned to unveil the design.

The expedited examination process allowed the designer to obtain a certificate of registration before the fashion show, ensuring that their design was legally protected from unauthorized copying or imitation.

Lessons Learned from Failed Expedited Examination Attempts

In a less fortunate case, a designer attempted expedited examination without a valid reason, purely to skip ahead in the queue. The request was denied, and the designer had to wait for the standard examination process to run its course.

This case serves as a reminder that expedited examination should only be sought for genuine reasons, as the intellectual property office has the authority to assess the validity of each request.


Expediting examination of design applications can be an effective way for individuals and businesses to secure prompt protection for their designs. By understanding the terminology associated with intellectual property law, applicants can navigate the design application process more effectively and make informed decisions about seeking expedited examination when necessary.

As intellectual property continues to play a critical role in our innovation-driven society, it is essential to stay informed about the various procedures and terminology that govern its protection.

Remember, whether you are a designer seeking design protection or a business looking to safeguard your brand, having a comprehensive understanding of expedited examination and intellectual property terminology is key to maximizing the value of your creations and inventions.