An Overview of Design Protection

Amongst different kinds of Intellectual Property Rights, the one most important is Industrial Design Protection Act where the design system focuses on the aesthetic feature of an article derived from its visual appearance. The Design Protection law has a right to protect the shape, configuration, pattern, ornament or combination of lines or colors applied to any article by any industrial process or means. This act provides protection right only to the designs that are aesthetic in nature, applied to articles, and not to the designs dictated by a functional feature.

The designs are protected in India by the Designs Act of 2000. Under this act, they provide the owner with ‘copyright’ in the design. In simple terms, the industrial design act recognizes the creation of new and original features of new shape, configuration, the composition of lines or colors applied to articles which in the finished state appeal to and are judged by the eye & protect design under any claims. The industrial design protection period is of 10 years, which further can be renewed for an additional period of 5 years.

Prerequisite for Design Registration

To protect the design created by the determined person who has kept working hard to innovate the new design it is very essential to get it registered. To get it registered officially, a few things have to be kept in mind.

Who can register?

Any person including an individual, any firm, any partnership firm, company or an agent on behalf of the proprietor can register a certain design which is original and new, who claims to be the owner of that design.

What are the criteria for the design registration?

  • New Design: The design whichever is introduced should be for the first time and it has to be unknown until then.
  • Should not be published earlier: The design for which the registration is to be done should never have been published earlier in any of the Country. Also, it should not be available to the public by registration or any other means.
  • Should not counter morality and order: The design must not be contrary to morality and order or prohibited by the Government of India or any institution.  The designs which are against the public interest are also not able to get the design protection.

Prohibition of registration of certain designs

As per the Section 4 of Design Act 2000, a design shall not be registered if the design:

  1. is not new or original; or
  2. has been disclosed to the public anywhere in India or in any other country by publication in tangible form or by use or in any other way prior to the filing date, or where applicable, the priority date of the application for registration; or
  3. is not significantly distinguishable from known designs or combination of known designs; or
  4. comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matter, shall not be registered.

Benefits of Design Protection Act

  • Registration of design will protect it from being imposed by another person.
  • Design Rights can be applied at low cost and its review is comparatively simple and fast which helps companies that have to protect designs of multiple varieties of products.
  • As known copyright can protect the code of the companies but for the look, they can be dependent on design rights.
  • These rights are more helpful for fast-moving industries like the fashion industry.
  • The pace with which the design rights provide a remedy for infringement can help the owner of design to protect their products in the main markets.

Challenges & Issues of Design Protection Act

  • Lack of awareness regarding the online registration process.
  • More formalities are to be processed to get the design protection.
  • The process to get Design Protection is slow which has to be speed up as there is the demand for the final product and market regulation.
  • Lack of trust in the legal implications as most of the infringements are not noticed.
  • Only 98% of the designs are protected under the Designs Act but there is a high risk as they get copied by the small firms.

Leave a Reply