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Straight Talk with a Lawyer: What is Product Design Copyright?

Straight Talk with a Lawyer: What is Product Design Copyright?

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December 10, 2021 March 14, 2022 10 min
Daria Kritskaia photoAuthor by:Daria Kritskaia

News portals, copywriters, blogs, scientific websites, and products on the Internet sometimes seem unprotected against third-party theft. Many people wonder how they can keep themselves safe and protect their designs. We have often seen how important, and sometimes secret, information gets out without the author’s permission. This makes the problem all the more urgent.

According to Stanford Libraries, there are various conventions and treaties that stipulate what countries must do to ensure full data protection for authors; although currently, there is no state which can guarantee that. So, the topic of copyright protection is still relevant. But do not get upset, because in a new webinar from MasterBundles we have held an important consultation with a master of law. Arsen Buchkovskyi spoke in detail about product design copyright. It was an incredibly useful webinar, which we want to keep on our blog. After all, the more people know about their rights on the Internet, the less illegal arrogance of other people’s works and products there will be. Take advantage and protect your rights!

Intellectual Property: What Is It and What Types Are There?

There are many explanations of the intellectual property concept. Let’s make it clear: IP is a legalized set of exclusive rights of a legal entity or an individual to the results of human intellectual activity and similar means of individualization, expressed in the form of complete objective information, providing their perception by others.

IP includes rights relating to inventions, designs, industrial models, corporate names, trademarks and service marks, selection achievements, literary and artistic work, symbols, names, and images used in commerce. That is, the products are fully protected by the law.

There are several types of international intellectual property:

copyright, patent, trademarks are among them.


Copyright is the most common element of intellectual property. Copyright is used to describe the rights given to authors in literary, artistic, and other works created by them. Copyright covers a wide range of works: books, music, texts, paintings, sculptures and films, computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, and drawings. So, almost everything you can create could be protected with a copyright.

A special symbol is used to indicate product protection. It is a well-known sign to everyone — “c” in a circle such as ©.

You own the copyright at the moment you create something.


A patent is an exclusive right to an invention. Typically, it works when you invent something and can receive a patent that will protect the product, including its use and design. Specifically, it will not be the same as a copyright, it will be a patent.

Of course, you are free to request patent protection for any creation that can also be defended by copyright. The patent is a more powerful protection. However, keep in mind that this right requires a more complicated procedure of getting protection.


This is a particular right of protection that is generally distinguished from the previous two. Trademark protects by obtaining a special certificate. It is an indispensable tool for the modern business world. This right has a very interesting history. Trademarks have existed since ancient times when craftsmen put their signature or “mark” on their products.

Industrial designs, geographical indications, and trade secrets are other types of intellectual property.

Industrial designs

This works with design protection and deals with our current topic. Industrial designs function by giving protection to different creative objects. You have to patent it and register it with a special institution in your country. This can be the aesthetic aspect of products, from electronic devices to furniture.

Geographical indications

These are signs used to characterize goods that have a certain place of origin and have characteristics, reputation, or distinctive features due primarily to that place of origin.

Trade secrets

These are IP rights to confidential information. Unauthorized obtaining, use, or disclosure of such information by others in a manner contrary to fair commercial practice is considered an unfair practice and a violation of trade secret rights.

What Can and Cannot Be Protected with a Copyright?

Now we will focus specifically on product design copyright because this form of protection is one of the most common and comfortable to use for different artistic creators. The University of Pennsylvania gives us this explanation: Copyright protects original expressions which are fixed in a tangible medium and is a product of authorship.

There are three main aspects that all products must-have. First, it must be an original expression. You have to create a product that reflects your own ideas and message. Next, you need to fix it in a physical or digital object so it can be tangible by the public. Last, is proof of authorship. The product must have an author and even now there are many discussions around this, such as whether it is necessary to copyright products created by algorithms because algorithms can’t “create” anything.

Now we must understand what cannot be protected by copyright. Here, everything is quite simple: everything that has no authorship, fixation, or unique expression of ideas cannot be protected by copyright. For example, an idea. An idea alone cannot be copyrighted until it goes through all the proper steps.

Procedures,methods of operation, concepts also can't be protected with copyright.

Let’s Wrap it up!

Now you know what product design copyright means, what methods of design protection exist, and how you can apply them to your work. We suggest you also share this article with your friends and co-workers so that more artists and designers will know about protecting their rights on the Internet.

And by the way, if you want to sell your projects on MasterBundles, feel free to submit your work. We are responsible for cooperating with vendors and checking every item for originality. You can learn more about our work with vendors by checking out the presentation and video tutorial on selling bundles in our marketplace. Want to know more about who we are? Learn more about our mission, team, and principles of work here.

Or you can submit your designs right now, using this form. Don’t worry, it’s literally a piece of cake 🙂

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      If you want to know more about the intellectual property protection action plan, check out our full webinar with Arsen! If any questions appear, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments! We will reply to you ASAP 🙂

      Watch How You Can Protect Your Design from Being Stolen

      Free Webinar: Design Protection Action Plan

      You’re very welcome to join Arsen Buchkovskyi (Best Lawyer in Intellectual Property Law in 2020) with his live webinar! We’re going to talk about the Design (&other IP) Protection Action Plan. Our friendly speaker will share a bunch of insights on how to protect copyright.

      Product Design Copyright FAQ

      What does design copyright mean?

      Design protection means keeping your products from being stolen. It means that nobody can appropriate your design.

      Can a product design be patented?

      Yes, but it takes much longer to get protection because you have to contact the particular organization responsible for it in your city/country.

      How do you copyright a design?

      There are four main rules you need to follow. First, you create a unique product. Then, fix it in a physical/digital form, prove authorship, and mark it with the copyright protection mark.

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      Freelance copywriter
      Hi there, I'm Daria, freelance copywriter and translator. I have a passion for web-design, learning languages, finding creative solutions to any tasks, constantly improving my skills in different directions. I like to create meaningful posts and to be as useful as possible.
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