Can you protect original package or product design?

Before purchasing a product, a customer draws attention to its package - shape, color, recognizable elements or anything that creates a unique image of a product and allows the customer to recognize it among other products offered by different manufacturers. For example, the package may be non-standard, having a special shape design, color or image. The main task of the manufacturer is to create the package that distinguishes the goods produced by the manufacturer from other goods available on the market, as well as provide legal protection not only in the shape of the package, but also its various elements.
Typically, a design patent and volumetric trademark is used to protect a unique packaging design. In some cases, the package can be protected as a utility model. However, it must have a certain technical novelty

Let us consider some legal protection options regarding appearance of the product.

As a trademark

As you might have mentioned, a significant amount of information about trademarks is presented on our website. However, we believe it might be useful for our guests to discuss particular issues once more. So, a trademark is a verbal, graphic, combined or three-dimensional designation that serves to individualize goods and services. Packaging of goods as a three-dimensional trademark representing the form of goods can be registered only if it has a distinctive ability, which allows one manufacturer to be distinguished from others

As an industrial design

A patent for an industrial design provides legal protection for the very appearance of the product, its design, e.g. an unusual unique shape. (Clause 1, Article 1352 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation)
The holder of a patent for an industrial design or a certificate for a trademark may be an individual (for example, having the status of an individual entrepreneur) or any legal entity without restrictions for Russian or foreign citizens. However, an individual who does not have the status of an individual entrepreneur cannot become the right holder of a trademark.
The term of validity of the exclusive right to a trademark for the copyright holder is valid initially for 10 years with an extension for an unlimited number of times (that is, the term is unlimited).

The patent for an industrial design is valid for 25 years with a four-time extension (initially the term of validity is limited to 5 years).

On average, the term for registration of a trademark or an industrial design is about 6-8 months.

An infringement of the exclusive right to a trademark is an attempt to use a designation identical to the registered trademark or similar to it to the extent of confusion.

Legal issues


Industrial design

Individual as a right holder

No (except for the status of an individual entrepreneur)


Term of validity

10 years or more (without limitations)

25 years

Limitations due to branch of activity




In case of non-using



Due to absence of novelty



An infringement of the exclusive right to an industrial design is recognized as the fact that a third party uses all the essential features of the industrial design or a combination of features in the product, which may mislead the Consumer.

Both methods of legal protection, having their advantages and disadvantages, are presented in the table.

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