Acts and Rules
The Designs Act, 2000 has been enacted to consolidate and amend the law relating to registration and protection of new and original industrial designs. It repealed and replaced the Designs Act, 1911. According to the Designs Act,2000, the term ‘design’ means “only the features of shape, 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, which in the finished article appeal to and are judged solely by the eye; but does not include any mode or principle of construction or anything which is in substance a mere mechanical device, and does not include any trade mark as defined in the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 or property mark as defined in the Indian Penal Code or any artistic work as defined in the Copyright Act, 1957″.
Under the Act, the Controller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks under Department of Industrial Policy and promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry is the Controller of Designs. The Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks directs and supervises the functioning of ‘Industrial Designs Wing’. The registration of industrial designs under the Designs Act is done by the ‘Industrial Designs Wing’ of the Head Office of Patents located at Kolkata.
The main provisions of the Act are:-
- The ‘Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks’ appointed under the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 shall be the Controller of Designs for the purposes of this Act.
- The Controller may, on the application of any person claiming to be the proprietor of any new or original design not previously published in any country and which is not contrary to public order or morality, register the design under the Act. Every application shall be in the prescribed form and shall be filed in the Patent Office in the prescribed manner and shall be accompanied by the prescribed fee. A design may be registered in not more than one class, and, in case of doubt as to the class in which a design ought to be registered, the Controller may decide the question.
- Prohibition of registration of those designs which:-
- Are not new or original; or
- Have been disclosed to the public anywhere in India or in any other country by publication in tangible form or by use or in any other way prior to the filing date, or where applicable, the priority date of the application for registration; or
- Are not significantly distinguishable from known designs or combination of known designs; or
- Comprise or contain scandalous or obscene matter.
- The Controller shall grant a certificate of registration to the proprietor of the design when registered. Also, there shall be kept at the Patent Office a book called the ‘register of designs’, wherein shall be entered the names and addresses of proprietors of registered designs, notifications of assignments and of transmissions of registered designs, and such other matter as may be prescribed.
- When a design is registered, the registered proprietor of the design shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, have copyright in the design during ten years from the date of registration. If, before the expiration of the said ten 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 a second period of five years from the expiration of the original period of ten years.
- The Controller shall, as soon as may be after the registration of a design, cause publication of the prescribed particulars of the design to be published in such a manner as may be prescribed and thereafter the design shall be open to public inspection. During the existence of copyright in a design, any person on furnishing such information as may enable the Controller to identify the design and on payment of the prescribed fee may inspect the design in the prescribed manner. Also, any person may, on application to the Controller and on payment of such fee as may be prescribed, obtain a certified copy of any registered design.
- Any person interested may present a petition for the cancellation of the registration of a design, at any time after the registration of the design, to the Controller on any of the following grounds:- (i) that the design has been previously registered in India; or (ii) that it has been published in India or in any other country prior to the date of registration; or (iii) that the design is not a new or original design; or (iv) that the design is not registrable under this Act; or (e) it is not a design as defined under the Act. The Controller may at any time refer any such petition to the High Court, and the High Court shall decide any petition so referred.
- The exhibition of a design, or of any article to which a design is applied, at an industrial or other exhibition to which the provisions of the Act have been extended by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette, or the publication of a description of the design, during or after the period of the holding of the exhibition, or the exhibition of the design or the article or the publication of a description of the design by any person else-where during or after the period of the holding of the exhibition, without the privity or consent of the proprietor, shall not prevent the design from being registered or invalidate the registration thereof, subjected to the conditions that:- (i) the exhibitor exhibiting the design or article, or publishing a description of the design, gives to the Controller previous notice in the prescribed form; and (ii) the application for registration is made within six months from the date of first exhibiting the design or article or publishing a description of the design.
- During the existence of copyright in any design it shall not be lawful for any person:-
- For the purpose of sale to apply or cause to be applied to any article in any class of articles in which the design is registered, the design or any fraudulent or obvious imitation thereof, except with the license or written consent of the registered proprietor, or to do anything with a view to enable the design to be so applied; or
- To import for the purposes of sale, without the consent of the registered proprietor, any article belonging to the class in which the design has been registered, and having applied to it the design or any fraudulent or obvious imitation thereof; or
- Knowing that the design or any fraudulent or obvious imitation thereof has been applied to any article in any class of articles in which the design is registered without the consent of the registered proprietor, to publish or expose or cause to be published or exposed for sale that article.
- Where an application for a design has been abandoned or refused, the application and any drawings, photographs, tracings, representations or specimens left in connection with then application shall not at any time be open to public inspection or be published by the Controller.
- If any person acts in contravention of the Act, he shall be liable for every contravention to pay to the registered proprietor of the design a sum not exceeding certain prescribed amount as a contract debt, or if the proprietor elects to bring a suit for the recovery of damages for any such contravention, and for an injunction against the repetition thereof, to pay such damages as may be awarded and to be restrained by injunction accordingly.