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As they say: the first impression counts. If you package well your products, you will significantly increase their changes of being selected by consumers. In other words: packaging is crucial for your success in the marketplace. Undoubtedly, unique, well thought-out, and eye-catching packaging contributes not only to increasing the capacity of a product to distinguish itself from competing products, but also adds to its value and chances of success.

Generally, the term “packaging” refers to all activities relating to the visual design and production of the container for a product.

In other words, packaging should not only function as a container or as protection for the product, but also as a marketing and promotion tool that can significantly affect the sales of the product it contains. Therefore, before rushing to put your products on the market in … whatever container, please consider the:

  • Four Functions of Packaging:
    • Protection, Storage and Transportation
    • Convenient and Easy-to-Use
    • Communication
    • Information
  • Five Characteristics of Packaging:
    • Graphics
    • Colours
    • Size
    • Shape
    • Environmental considerations

There are essentially two ways to protect your creative packaging through the strategic use of IPRs: industrial designs and trademarks.

  • The first is by far the most common and perhaps what we would suggest as a first step: if your packaging is new and it complies with the other possible legal requirements, file immediately an industrial design application in your country (and in the countries where you intend to expand your business).
  • The second option (i.e. trademarks) is excellent. However, many IP offices tend to reject 3-D marks (and packaging is typically a 3-D mark) as devoid of sufficient distinctive character, unless you can prove that that particular shape has acquired distinctiveness though use. Should this be the case, please consider first protecting your packaging as industrial design. After a number of years and certainly before the design expires, you can file the 3-D mark with your IP office, proving acquired distinctiveness through use of the industrial design.

For a more detailed information about packaging, its functions and characteristics, please refer to the Handbook on IP Commercialisation, Section F.5.


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