Registration and protection of designs in India are regulated by the Designs Act, 2000 and the Design Rules that were enacted in 2001. The introduction of the Design Act, 2000, repealed and replaced the Act that was introduced in 1911.
The Design Rules, 2001, was further amended by Designs (Amendment) Rules 2008 and Designs (Amendment) Rules 2014. The latest development in the rules established under this Act is the introduction of a new category of an applicant that is incorporated under the identity of a small entity in addition to a natural person.
A design is defined under Section 2(d) of the Designs Act 2001, as only the features of a shape, pattern, configuration, composition or ornament of lines or colours that are applied to any article that is two dimensional, three dimensional, or both by an industrial process or any means whether mechanical, manual or chemical, separated or combined, which in the finished article are judged solely by the eye; but is not taken into account upon the principle of construction or anything which is in substance a mere mechanical device.
Under the Design Act, 2000 for a design to be registered and protected under the Act, the following are essential elements that need to be fulfilled:
The first thing to be noted is that the application to register a design may be applied to five different authorities:
– Controller Designs Patent Office in Kolkata
– Patent office in Delhi
– Patent office in Ahmedabad
– Patent office in Mumbai
– Patent office in Chennai
When an application is submitted at any one of the four offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad and are rerouted to the head office in Kolkata,
the following is the application procedure for filing for a design registration:
As of 2014, the Design (Amendment) Rules, 2014 introduced two categories of applicants: – Natural person – Other than a natural person The importance of this classification of applicants is the different fee structures that are imposed upon the applicant depending upon the category that they fall under.
Under the category of ‘Other than a natural person’, there are two sub-categories:
The advantage received by small entities is a reduction in the fee that needs to be paid when applying to register a design. The advantage of registering a design is that the holder of the registration certificate has the legal right to stop anyone else from using the design without his permission.
In the case where the design is being used by a third party without the knowledge of the holder of the certificate, the holder of the certificate may claim damages in the court of law. This enables him to get compensation from the person violating his right over the usage of the design.
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