10.6. Product: Manufactured or handmade

Date Published

The terms ‘manufactured’ and ‘handmade’ underline the fact that design protection has an industrial nature. There is a strong sense that the thing must be made using a physical process. For example, a toothbrush is a tangible object that is made using a manufacturing process.

Things that occur naturally cannot be registered. For example, while a carved potato is a ‘thing that is manufactured or handmade’, an unaltered potato is not.

​​​​​​​Ethereal or invisible objects (like electrical signals) are not ‘things’ because they are not tangible – they lack material substance. ​​​​​​​


  • The base of a fountain and the water spout within it are designed to generate a fountain of a particular shape. The base and water spout are tangible objects that can be registered. However, the water jet that comes from the fountain is ethereal – it is not a manufactured or handmade ‘thing’. Therefore, it cannot be registered.
  • A building plan is not a tangible object and is not manufactured or handmade. The plan may be covered by some other kind of right – for example, artistic and literary works are automatically protected under the Copyright Act.​​​​​​​

Newness and distinctiveness

See Assessing newness and distinctiveness for information on determining whether a product is new and distinctive.

Design at rest

See Variable visual features for information on viewing visual features as though the design is ‘at rest’.

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended