According to the Design Act, 2000, Design’ means only the features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament or composition of lines or colour or combination thereof applied to any article whether two dimensional or three dimensional or in both forms, by any industrial process or means, whether manual, mechanical or chemical, separate or combined.
Intellectual property laws in India cover the rights related to trademarks, copyrights, patents, designs and geographical indications of goods. The basis of this Act was ‘first to file, first to get’ system which means that an innovator or owner of any design should file an application to register the same as soon as possible to prevent it from piracy and for claiming certain rights over that particular design.
Designs that can be registered under Design Act
For a design to be registered under the Designs Act, it must satisfy the following six conditions:
- The design should be new or original, not previously published or used in any country before the date of application for registration.
- The design should relate to features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation applied or applicable to an article. Thus, designs of industrial plans, layouts and installations are not registrable under the Act.
- The design should be applied or applicable to any article by any industrial process. Normally, designs of artistic nature like painting, sculptures and the like which are not produced in bulk by any industrial process are excluded from registration under the Act.
- The features of the design in the finished article should appeal to and are judged solely by the eye. This implies that the design must appear and should be visible on the finished article, for which it is meant. Thus, any design in the inside arrangement of a box, money purse or almirah may not be considered for showing such articles in the open state, as those articles are generally put in the market in the closed state.
- Any mode or principle of construction or operation or any thing which is in substance a mere mechanical device, would not be registrable design.
- The design should not include any Trademark or Copyright.
Objectives of the Design Act
- The primary objective of the Design Act is to protect the designs.
- The Design Act 0f 2000 is an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the protection of designs.
- Its main objective is to protect new or original designs from getting copied which causes loss to the proprietor.
- The important purpose of design registration is to see that the creator, originator or artisan of any design is not deprived of his reward for creating that design by others copying it to their goods or products.
- An industrial design helps in drawing a customer’s attention and helps in increasing the commercial value of an article. Therefore, helps in expanding its market.
- There are many competitors who adopt evil ways to reduce the competition in the rival groups by exploiting the designs to their advantage. Thus, it is necessary to have laws to safeguard the interests of the owners of these designs. In order to fulfill this objective, the Design Act of 2002 came into existence.
Registration of Design
Registration of design shall be for any or all of the articles comprised in a prescribed class of articles in section 6. Section 7 empowers Central Government to make rules for the classification of articles. Registration of design shall be done with the Controller of Designs. A new or original design can be registered by the controller, if it is not previously published in any country and which is not contrary to public order or morality. Before it is registered, it may be examined by an examiner. Application for registration shall be in prescribed Form No.1. Registration can be for only one of the classes of goods. If the controller refuses a registration, an appeal can be filed to High Court. The design will be registered as of the date of application for registration.
Benefits of Design Act
All documents pertaining to a registered design are maintained by the Patent Office to put competitors on notice about registration of a design. A registered design provides the creator, exclusive rights over use of the design for a period of ten years, that can be further extended for a period of five years. In case of infringement or piracy of a registered design, the owner of the registered design can seek legal remedy under the Designs Act. Anyone found contravening to the copyright in a design, is liable for every offence to pay a sum not exceeding Rs. 25,000/- to the registered proprietor subject to a maximum of Rs. 50,000/- recoverable as contract debt in respect of any one design. Thus, registering a design provides legal remedy against infringement.
Tenure and Cancellation of Registration of Design
Section 11 provides that when a design is registered, the registered proprietor of design gets copyright in the design for 10 years from the date of registration.
However, before the expiration of the said 10 years, application for the extension of the period of copyright is made to the controller in the prescribed manner, the controller shall, on payment of the prescribed fee, extend the period of copyright for the second period of 5 years from the expiration of the original period 10 years.
Application for renewal shall be made in prescribed Form No.3 with fees before the expiration of the period of 10 years.
Section 19 provides that a registration can be canceled if:
- The design was previously registered in India.
- It has been published prior to the date of registration
- Design is not new and original
- Design is not registrable under the act
- It is not designed as defined under section 2(d)
Design Act, 2000 brings about many changes which are observed in the features. When a developer develop something for example If an architect develops the structure of a building there is an expectation that my structure will not be infringed. Many designs are capable of providing the author with copyrights also.
In that case infringement of both cannot be claimed separately. The owner must have to choose which is more beneficial. High intellects are involved in making a design look good and have an everlasting impact. Government come up with a great policy of protecting designs. Moreover, these designs can also have a negative impact on the value of the business if infringed. A good design is always remembered.
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