The term Industrial Design, is known as the design, the surface pattern or the shape associated with a product or an article which is unique in nature. The monopoly rights related to intellectual property laws ensure the protection of such industrial design in India under the Designs Act, 2000 and the Design Rules, 2001.
The design registration in India under the Designs Act, 2000 has defined the term design under Section 2(d) as, only the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament or composition of lines or colors 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 or construction or anything which is in substance a mere mechanical device.
Section 4 of the Designs Act, 2000 provides that for a design to be registerable in India the respective design should be new and original and without being disclosed to the public in India or any other country in any tangible form as prior publication or prior use of a design would destroy a design’s novelty. A 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 registerable under the Designs Act, 2000. A design makes an object attractive and hence should be appealing to the eye. 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. Along with novelty of the design, the article should also carry commercial viability, i.e., the ability to be profitable in the commercial market.
The registration of a design in India confers on the applicant the exclusive right against unauthorized copying and imitation of his design by third parties. Registration of a design provides for a distinctive identification among consumers and helps the applicant in boosting their sales and goodwill in the market. A design registration gives the applicant the legal right to take action against an infringer and stop piracy of the design. Corporate houses are increasingly becoming aware of the hidden value of intellectual property. They have realized that registration of their products’ designs will not only give them an edge over their competitors but that registration of a design is a relatively inexpensive and easy procedure. Design registration offers protection of their products from imitation and piracy as well as the right to authorize third parties to use their design.
Registration of a design offers to secure the filing date as a priority date for any corresponding design applications one may have in other countries within the following six months. This helps in establishing the design overseas. A design registration increases the market awareness of a product and in turn enhances the reputation of the company in the market. This helps in improving the competitiveness of a product as it denies third parties from imitating or copying a registered design.
Registration of designs is becoming increasingly popular as the Indian courts are adjudicating in relation to design protection and registration efficiently and in a time bound manner. It has been realized that clever application of design rights can extend a product’s value considerably in the market. With design registration, new avenues have opened up in the commercial market and investors are ready to invest in new innovations and technologies. The Designs Act, 2000 has played a pivotal role in promoting technological innovation and design registration has made the consumer aware of the various innovations in the market.