The appearance or shape of a product can make a big difference to its sales. Cars, cameras, computers, furniture and many items are often selected because of their looks.
Protection of “design” is valuable. In the US Design Patents, and in Canada Industrial Design Registrations are available to give protection.
Do not confuse these with patents for inventions. The two are very different.
Granting of Design patents follows a process similar to patents for inventions, usually at a somewhat less cost. The term is shorter, 10 to 14 years.
The main rule is that the design patent must show only the exterior shape. Details of how its made are not relevant.
If a product has a shape which is purely functional, it is not a “design”. A design patent was refused for the so-called “cartridge fuse”. It had no aesthetic appeal.