Apart from trademarks or trade names and patent rights which are granted protection as an intellectual property under Trademarks Act 1999 and Patents Act 1970, there is a third significant category of intellectual property which has been granted protection under the law, namely, Designs that seeks to register features such as shape, configuration, pattern, ornamentation or composition of lines or colors applied to articles. Since the protection is allowed to the visual appearance of a design, it doesn’t cover aspects like any manner or mode of construction of a device or any other artistic work that is expressly granted registration under Trademarks Act 1999 or the Copyrights Act (Design Registration).
The entire procedure and other provisions related to registration and other aspects related to designs are covered under Designs Registration Act 2000 and Designs Rules 2001. Accordingly, a large number of industrial designs have been granted registration to provide protection under the Act. Industrial sectors seeking design registration have been varies in nature from automobiles industry to heavy industries, from consumer electrical to fast moving consumer goods, from software and tech products to commercial vehicles, most of the commodities have been registered and are eligible to be granted registration under the Act.
Each design registration is allowed for each class of items covered under that class in accordance with the International classification systems of designs also known as Locarno classification and the same has been provided under Schedule III to the Act. Once the design is registered under the Act it is eligible for all the benefits of registration provided under the Act and such registration shall be deemed to be applicable from the date of application for design registration except where an application has been filed on a previous date in convention country and the registration applied in India is a priority registration.
Observing increase in trends towards increase in Design registration in India, the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks has simplified the registration procedures to make the process of registration simple, faster and efficient through major steps like digitalization of application procedures, online publication of designs registered, a public search platform etc. As a result, the process of design registration has become relatively faster with the maximum time limit for registration being between 1-2 years encouraging innovation and getting such innovative designs registered under the Act.
Before, we move towards the process of registration and other aspects of design registration, let’s know a little about designs.
Definition of “Designs” under the Designs Act
Section 2 of the Act defines Designs as “Only such unique features related to the shape, figure, configuration, pattern, ornament or composition of lines or colours 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, that are given to any article, which may be either in two dimensional or three dimensional or both formats either through any process of manufacturing or mode. Therefore, a registered design may be something created out of any manual, mechanical, automated or chemical, separate or any combined procedure to be used in any item or article which could be identified or recognised solely through eye.
The real objective behind allowing registration to designs under the Designs Act 2000, is to curb the immoral practice of copying and using such designs that are purely created out of the creativity and hard work of the registered proprietor who innovates it. Further, it is to make sure that the person who copied and used such design registered previously should not be able to earn illegal profits and deceive customers in the market.
Accordingly, some key features of designs include-
- A registered design should not have been disclosed or made use of in any part of the country or the world before making of an application under the Act.
- It should be distinguishable enough with adequate unique features which could be judged solely through eyes.
- It should not contain any prohibitory/scandalous or obscene matter disallowed under the laws of the land.
- Registration under the Act gives the proprietor the right to bring a cause of action in the court of law in case of any infringement.
- Design Registration under the Act also gives the proprietor an exclusive right to use the design with respect to an article under which the design has been registered.
- A registered proprietor has the right to either sell rights or permit licenses for making use of the design to any third party.
- For a design to be registered, it should not be any mode or principle of manufacture or something which is a mere mechanical device in nature.
- A design should not be something that is expressly allowed registration under the provisions of the Indian Trademarks Act 1999 or the Indian Copyrights Act 1957.
What cannot be registered as a “Design” under the Act?
The items mentioned below have been expressly kept out of the purview of the Designs Act 2000–
- Designs related to documents, dress patterns, greet-cards, forms and documents.
- Any principle or manner of manufacture.
- Buildings and structures related designs.
- Pieces or portions of items not allowed to either manufacture or sell separately.
- Alterations made by workshops of an assembly.
- Ordinary change is the size of the item.
- Designs related to the Flags or emblems of any country.
- Layout design structure of integrated circuits.
Designs Registration with Legalmart
The process of Design registration is online that is simple and hassle-free to complete, but requires application filling with precision, as not undertaking the same with care can lead to failure of application or requirement to file the form all again leading to additional time and unnecessary costs of doing it all again. Thus, for expert assistance in document preparation, application drafting and submission and successfully getting registration certificate, please refer to Legalmart.
Benefits of Design Registration
Provided below are some of the benefits of having a design registered under the Design Act and Design Rules in India-
- Grants Legal protection under Law: On registration , the registered design is granted protection under the law as no person or individual can either copy, reproduce , sell or offer to sell or market such designs or products bearing that design without the consent of the owner or authorised officer of the business entity so as to indicate his/her ownership.
- Extended Validity: Once a registration certificate granted under the provisions of the Act, such design is granted protection for a total period of ten years and is further subject to renewal for further five years on every application of renewal at the end of five years.
- Grants Unique character: Undoubtedly, a registered design cannot be used by any other person or individual in the course of the business and having the same grants a unique identity to the business entity to distinguish its goods from that of others in the relevant market.
- Encourages Creativity & Resourcefulness: A registered design evidences the fact that the goods produced are novel in nature and have not been created before. Thus, granting them a unique identity and recognition. Therefore, design registration encourages creativity and resourcefulness of the professionals as well as young minds to create something unique.
- Better Client Response: A registered novel design has the ability to gain public attention and creating appeal among masses. Thus, a new design can help to gain more customers and thus better response from the market.
- Boosts Innovation: A registered design is something which is novel in nature, something that has not been created before. As there are multiple benefits related to a design registration, it inspires to undertake more research and create unique products making way for a healthier competition in the market.
Documents Required for Design Registration
Provided below is the comprehensive list of documents required to be attached to the application for design registration in India–
- Duly filled Form 1 for the purpose of Design registration.
- Certified copies or the originals and extracts from the disclaimers required to be made under the Act.
- Declarations and affidavits required to be made in Form 21 and Affidavits required under rule 42 of the Act.
- A proof of registration under MSME Act 2006, wherever applicable.
- Copy of General Power of authority (GPA) endorsed along with the design application number where original GPA has been filed.
- Following documents are required in case of foreign entity
- Scanned original priority certificate as prescribed under Rule 15 of the Designs Act and Rules.
- An authenticated and duly translated copy of the priority document (where the priority document has been drafted in a language other than English).
- An original authenticated original copy of application where the priority application in the convention country is other than English).
Online Process of Design Registration in India
The Designs Office, Kolkata is the appropriate office for the application of design registration in India. If the application is received by the branch office, the application has to be submitted to the Head Office for processing of the application The design applications have to be filed with the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks (CGPDTM) at Kolkata, under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This office conducts an examination and grants the registration if the application meets all formal and substantive requirements of the Designs Act, 2000. The applicant is provided with sufficient opportunity, including a hearing, to amend their application, within permissible limits, to conform to the registration requirements.
Here is the step by step process of filling designs application as per the provisions of the Act-
- File Form-1 along with prescribed details- As the first step towards registration of the proposed design, the prescribed form (Form-1) must be filed along with the prescribed fee along with other details like name of the proprietor or authorized officer of the entity, contact details, address of the office premises, name of the article & class number under which the same is proposed to be registered etc. has to be mentioned.
The application form shall be submitted in quadruplicate after putting signatures of the applicant or his duly authorized agent. Similarly, the application shall also be accompanied by a statement of novelty and a disclaimer duly signed and dated.
- Step 2- Examination of Application
Once the application is submitted along with all required documents to the Controller of Designs, he will refer the application to the Examiner of Designs for examining whether-
- The proposed application satisfies all the requirements for registration.
- The proposed application is eligible for be granted registration under the relevant rules & regulations under the provisions of the Designs Act 2000 & Rules.
- Whether the application is complete with respect to details such as details of the applicant, registered address of the organization, declaration of proprietorship etc. among others.
Next, the examiner of Designs will go through the technical aspects of the Design application by making a substantive examination of the application assessing whether the proposed design is-
- Whether adequately desirable for registration under the Act?
- Whether the proposed design is novel in nature?
- If the proposed design is either prejudicial to public order or morality.
- Whether prejudicial to the security system or peace in India.
After examining the contents of the application, the examiner will submit the application to the Controller of Designs for assessment and approval of the application.
Step 3- Assessing Examination Report provided by the Examiner
The Controller of Designs shall go through the observations made by the examiner in regard to the application and if he is satisfied of the eligibility of the application, he will register the Design under the provisions of the Act and will grant a registration certificate to be sent to the applicant as soon as possible.
However, if the Controller is not satisfied of the eligibility of the application or believes that there are certain rectifications to be made in the application or some changes are required to be made. He may communicate such objections or corrections to be made within such time which shall not be more than six month at once and could be extended by further three months by submitting an application in Form-18 within six months. On removal of objections or rectification of mistakes in the Designs Application, the Controller of Designs will issue Certificate of Registration.
Step 4- Publication of the application in the journal
On successful registration of the Designs application, the Controller of Designs will cause the application to be published in the official journal of Patents within a period of one month from the date of registration of the Design. The date of registration of Design shall be the date of filling application for registration of designs.
After registration the application shall be entered in the Register of Designs preserved at Patent Office, Kolkata which shall be open for inspection purposes.
Validity of Registration
As per the provisions of the Designs Act 2000, once registered a design shall be granted for a total period of ten years from the date of registration and shall be subject to renewal for further five years on application from time to time.
Why Choose Legalmart?
At Legalmart, we understand how important are intellectual property rights are important for you and thus we are committed to provide assistance in IPR registration including Design registration from time to time. Further, we offer to provide following services in case you intend to apply for Design registration–
Preparation of Application & collection of documents
At Legalmart, We sincerely believe that managing the business as a business owner is a difficult task and inadequate knowledge about legal formalities could be hectic to perform on your own. Thus, at Legalmart we have an entire team of professionals having years of knowledge and expertise in the field of IPR registration, and who are ready to guide through the whole process, collect necessary documents, and prepare your application ready to be submitted to the portal in an efficient manner.
End to End assistance from initiation to completion of the process of registration
Once documents are collected, our professional experts will fill and submit application to the Designs Registration office. Our team is also 24X 7 available to listen to your queries to ensure that you receive timely information and fulfil our services efficiently.