Designs Act, 2000 – summary and notes


The objective of the design Act, 2000 is to protect new or original designs so created to be applied or applicable to a particular article to be manufactured by Industrial Processes or means.

Sometimes the purchase of articles for use is influenced not only by their practical efficiency but also by their appearance. The important purpose of design Registration is to see that the artisans, creator, originator of a design having aesthetic look are not deprived of his bonafide reward by others applying it to their goods.

Design Act Protects External Aspects of the design of the article and not the technical or functional aspects of the design of a product. Industrial or product’s design is registrable under the Design Act while purely artistic works are protected under the Copyright Act.

Definition And Meaning of Design

Design means only the features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament or composition of lines or color applied to any article:

  • Whether in two dimensional or three dimensional or in both forms,
  • By any industrial process or means, whether manual, mechanical or chemical, separate or combined which in the finished article appeal to and are judged solely by the eyes;
  • But it does not include any mode or principle of construction of anything which is in substance a merely mechanical device.
  • It does not include any trademark defined in the Trade Marks Act or artistic work as defined in the Copyright Act.

Registration of Design

  • Registration of design shall be for any or all of the articles comprised in a prescribed class of articles 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.

Tenure 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.

Cancellation of Registration

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)

Piracy of Design

Piracy of a design means the application of a design or its imitation to any article belonging to the class of articles in which the design has been registered for the purpose of sale or importation of such articles without the written consent of the registered proprietor.

The person acting in contravention of the above is liable to pay damages for contravention. In addition, damages may be claimed and injunction can be asked from the court.

Remedies In Case of Registered Design Against Infringement

Only civil remedies are available and no criminal remedies is available against infringement of copyright in the design. Civil Remedies available are:

  • Injunction
  • Damages or compensation, and
  • Delivery up of infringement articles.

Case laws

Bharat Glass Tube Limited v. Gopal Glass Works Limited, 2008

In this case the Supreme Court defined the object and purpose of the Act in the following words:

“The object of the act is to protect the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) of the original design with the aim to reward the innovator for research and labor applied to evolve a new and original design. The Court further emphasized that the protection given with respect to designs is primarily to advance industries and to keep them in a high level of competitive progress. One interesting feature of industrial design is that, unlike patents, it does not have high social costs as it does not offer someone the status of an absolute monopolist in the relevant market”.

Gopal Glass Works Ltd. v. Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs,2006

In this case, the court held that under the law presently in force in India, specification, drawings, and demonstration in connection with the registration of a design do not per se constitute publications that prohibit future registration of that design. Had publication of design specifications by a registering authority, particularly a registering authority in a foreign country, in connection with the registration of a design, in itself, amounted to prior publication, it would have hit all future applications in India for registration of designs. It is significant that parliament consciously made publication in a country other than India a ground of cancellation, in addition to publication in India, but expressly restricted the embargo of prior registration to registration in India. Thus registration in a country other than India had not been made a ground for the cancellation of a registered design.

Author: Rohit,
Law Center-II, Faculty of law, University of law,2nd Year, Student

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