Our favorite Bollywood and Hollywood celebrities are always flaunting different apparels and ethnic from the biggest designer houses of the world. At one point or another we all felt like having one of those pieces. We all have come across the dupes of these designer outfits at way cheaper prices than they are originally sold at. But what about the rights of these designers who have worked so hard to gain that position.
However, the laws that protected the designs are under the intellectual property right but however they are not developed to protect these designers entirely.
Then how are designs and the designers protected under IPR?
The designs of the fashion designers can be protected either under the Copyright Act,1957 or Design Act,2000. Firstly, we shall be discussing how the Designs Act,2000can help in protecting the interests of the designers.
Protection under the Design Act,2000:
Designs include the shape, color, pattern, texture, and combination of various elements as per Section 2(d) of the Design Act, 2000. Under this Act protection is not the entire garment but to these elements only if they are unique in their appearance. Moreover, this implies that even the sketch of the design should not resemble other pieces. Likewise, this Act aims to protect the piracy of the designs and unless registered, the designs cannot claim protection by law. 
Under the Design Act any design which is new and original, unpublished, capable of being distinguished and not be scandalous or obscene can pe protected. The designs could be reproduced for a period of 10 years starting from the date of registration. The design could be protected for an unlimited period up to the term of protection and is subject to renewal.
Protection of designs under the Copyright Act,1957:
Under the Copyright Act,1957 the word design is not defined but instead artistic work is defined. Under Section 2(c) artistic work means:
- a painting, a sculpture, a drawing (including a diagram, map, chart or plan), an engraving or a photograph, whether or not any such work possesses artistic quality;
- a [work of architecture]; and
- any other work of artistic craftsmanship
So according to this section a drawing of the outfit could also be artistic work.
It is clearly mentioned under the Section 15(1) of the Copyright Act that any design which is registered under the Designs Act shall not be copyrightable with one exception. Therefore, a design which has already been registered or is capable of being registered under the Designs Act is not copyrightable and an artistic work as defined in the Copyright Act cannot be treated as a design.
Section 15(2) also mentions that the design registered under the Copyright Act,1957 shall cease as soon as any article to which the design has been applied has been reproduced more than fifty times by an industrial process by the owner of the copyright or, with his license, by any other person. Hence, the Copyright Act,1957 allows to reproduce designs up to 50 times. So, it is advisable that if a design can be registered under the Designs Act,2000 it should be registered under the same if the designs were to be reproduced for more than fifty times. As the Designs Act,2000 provides the right of reproduction of the design for 10 years from the date of registration as mentioned above.
Fashion Industry In India- Laws And Legislations, Vakilsearch (January 5,2021), https://vakilsearch.com/advice/fashion-industry-in-india-laws-and-legislations/
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