Protecting Jewellery Designs under different IPR Laws


In the world of Pinterest and Instagram, where we come across these beautiful and aesthetic clothing, jewellery, shoes, interior and much more it makes us want one of those. Many of these designs and products are by renowned designers and companies. Looking at the price tag, some of us could only imagine wearing these. But not anymore, nowadays, the same designer products are available at cheaper prices on different sites. As you tubers famously call it “dupes” which are easily available, cheaper and not heavy on the pockets.

But what about the rights of the designers who originally created it? They are protected by a series of Intellectual Property Laws which are discussed further.  

From a very fundamental understanding, a sketch or a blueprint of a jewellery design can be protected under the copyright law as an artistic work, while the real appearance and result of its pattern and configuration could be granted protection under the design law.[1] The logo symbol and the brand name would come under the protection of trademark law and if any unique technique is involved in yielding the design of jewellery then it can be granted protection under the patent law. [2] Additionally original jewellery designs could be registered under the Designs Act, 2000.

Jewelry design protection under the Copyright Act, 1957:

Artistic work in Section 2(c) of the Copyright Act, 1957 includes inter alia (amongst other things), a drawing, and any work of artistic craftsmanship that involves talent, labour, and creativity of mind. This clearly means the drawing of the jewellery approves to be protected under the Copyright Act, 1957.

Jewellery design protection under the Design Act, 2000:

A design as defined under Section 2(d) of the Designs Act, 2000 includes features such as shape, configuration, pattern, ornament, or composition of lines/colours used in either 2D (two dimensional) or 3D (three dimensional) or in both the forms in any article, by any industrial process or means that would appeal to and will be judged solely by the eye in a finished piece and excludes any artistic work or anything which is a result mere mechanical device or a mode of construction principle.

Now, according to Section 15 of the Copyright Act, 1957 any design registered under the Designs Act, 2000 will not be allowed to subsist under Copyright Act, 1957.

Jewellery design protection under Trademark Act,1999:

Jewellery would be excluded from protection under trademark upon referring to Section 9(3) of the Trademark Act, 1999 which states that a mark shall not be registered as a trademark if it consists of a shape that attaches substantial value to the goods. Additionally, there is a concept of passing off attached to trademark which primarily means goodwill damages and misrepresentation. [3]

Protection of Jewellery designs from India under Geographical Indications Act, 1999:

There are various types of jewellery from different states in India that have their origin since decades. Some examples of these jewelleries are Kundan from Rajasthan and Gujrat, Lacquer from Rajasthan, Gold jewellery from South India, etc. These articles fall under the special category of traditional cultural expressions known as TCE’s by WIPO. They include songs, dances, handicrafts, designs, ceremonies, tales, or any other artistic or cultural expressions, which ‘form part of the identity and heritage of a traditional or indigenous community’ and ‘are passed down from generation to generation. Since India lacks a unique and uniform separate legislation for their protection, the designers have to retort to obtaining either certification trademark (CTM) or Geographical Indications (GI) or both.[4] Protection under GI has proved to be extremely helpful as only members of these community can produce these designs. In case these designs are used by other people it would cause an infringement under Section 22 of the Geographical Indications Act, 1999.

Conclusion:

Thus, a jewelry design could be protected under the above mentioned laws. But the design cannot be protected both under the Copyright Act, 1957 and Design Act, 2000. If the creators of the designs are not protected it would result in their exploitation. There are a variety of ways to protect these designs but only a robust mechanism would let that happen.


[1] Diganth Sehgal, Protection of jewellery offered by a combination of IPR laws, ipleaders (June 28,2021), https://blog.ipleaders.in/protection-jewellery-offered-combination-ipr-laws/

[2] Supra 1

[3] Micolube India v. Rakesh Kumar (2013)

[4] Supra 1

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