General information


Industrial design, US: design patent

In IP “industrial design” refers to the visual or aesthetic aspects of a product or article, such as its shape, pattern, or colour, that make it appealing to consumers and distinguish it from other products. Industrial design protection is often sought by manufacturers or designers to prevent others from copying or imitating their designs. Industrial designs can be protected through registration with a national or international intellectual property office, similar to patents or trademarks.

Design Search

If you want to search for industrial designs connected to sustainability and circularity, first, identify relevant databases, like WIPO’s Global Design Database or EUIPO’s eSearch plus (or national databases) – depending on the territory you are interested in.

Choose relevant search terms: to find industrial design projects that incorporate sustainable and ecological principles, you might use terms such as “green”, “sustainable”, “ecological”, “environmentally friendly” or “eco-design”. You could also include more specific terms related to the type of product or materials you’re interested in, such as “sustainable furniture” or “eco-friendly packaging”.

Once you have identified your databases and search terms, you can start your search. Depending on the database, you may be able to use advanced search features to refine your results by date, type of design, Locarno classification or other criteria. You may also want to consider using Boolean operators (such as “AND” or “OR”) to combine search terms and broaden or narrow your results.

Design classification

Locarno Classification

The Locarno Classification is an international classification used in the process of registering industrial designs, which are the visual aspects of a product or object that give it a unique appearance. It is managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This classification makes it easier for designers, manufacturers, and others involved in the production of products to identify and protect their designs from infringement by others.

The Locarno Classification can play an important role in helping to protect and promote designs that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. By identifying and classifying these types of designs this classification can help to encourage the development and adoption of more sustainable and circular products, which can contribute to a more sustainable and green economy overall.

The EU-specific EuroLocarno classification is based on Locarno Classification and governed by the EUIPO.