Industrial design policy

IP Policy and international affairs: Industrial Design Policy

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides policy leadership, advocacy, and technical and trade expertise in domestic and international industrial design rights. This includes regular representation of the U.S. government in bilateral and multilateral intellectual property (IP) and trade negotiations, including representation at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the ID5 Industrial Design Forum (ID5), and other international and domestic forums and frameworks. 

Industrial design (design patent) policy encompasses a number of areas that are critical to responding to the many design-related domestic and international issues that face U.S. rights holders. These include:

  • Domestic design and design-related policy issues as they relate to international agreements and treaties, as well as the development of domestic U.S. laws and practice.
  • Treaty negotiation and monitoring the enforcement of industrial design-related international treaty provisions.
  • U.S. implementation of, and adherence to, international treaty obligations relating to industrial designs.
  • Cooperative efforts and studies with foreign intellectual property and design offices, including cataloging and sharing practices for industrial design protection.
  • Technical assistance and training on industrial design and design-related matters for U.S. and foreign officials.

Some of the key industrial design and design-related international agreements the USPTO negotiated, helped develop, and continues to monitor and advance, include the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, and the proposed Design Law Treaty. For further information on these treaties and related issues, please visit the links below.

For information about types of patents, including design patents, visit the USPTO’s Applying for Patents webpage.

Areas of focus

The USPTO is a key agency in providing IP policy expertise, advice, and guidance to the administration on a variety of subjects, including the key design-related topics below.


The USPTO actively engages with counterpart governments and IP offices through the forums listed below.

International treaties

International agreements related to industrial designs and their protection.


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Questions about the content of this page may be directed to the USPTO’s Office of Policy and International Affairs at