Novelty of a Design

Novelty of a Design

The goal of the Design Act is to protect and preserve original and novel designs. A design like this can be applied to a specific article that will be produced using industrial procedures or methods. An article with a unique and innovative design gives a product an attractive appearance that may attract clients. The novelty and originality of a design are required in order to register it and obtain copyright over it.

The Novelty of Any Design is Important for its Registration


Significance of Novelty

To be registrable, a design must be both new and original, and it must not have been previously published in India or elsewhere. Natural objects used as designs might be unique or innovative. The portrayal of a tree or a structure on a spoon, for example, could be deemed novel or unique. The application of a drawing or design acquired from a material source to an article is the uniqueness here. The phrases fresh or original connote originality, either in the pattern, form, or ornament itself, or in the manner an old pattern, shape, or decoration is to be applied to a unique subject. It’s possible that a paper weight in the shape of an animal is brand new and unique. To be registrable, the design must be significantly different from pre-existing designs for the same class of object. What constitutes a significant difference must be determined by the facts of each instance. Section 2 (g) defines “original” as “originating from the inventor of the design”. 

The uniqueness or originality of a single element of an article may be sufficient to confer uniqueness and originality on the entire piece. If the appearance of the combination as a whole is new, a combination of established designs may be called unique. If the combination of two or more previous features is not visible yet new and original, it may be registrable.


Certain instances are listed in Section 16 of the Act where disclosure of a design cannot be construed as a publication in order to change the status of the design’s novelty. When the owner of a design imparts his design to a person in good faith, and that person reveals the design by using or publishing it in bad faith, the disclosure is not deemed a publication of the design. The receipt of a first and confidential order for the registration of products integrating a new or unique textile design cannot be construed as a publication of the design’s disclosure.

Exhibition before Registration

According to Section 21 of the Act, a presentation of a design will not prohibit it from being registered. If the design is displayed in an industrial exhibition or an exhibition to which the provisions of Section 21 of the Designs Act, 2000 have been extended, the exhibition of the design or an article embodying the novel design without the prior consent of the proprietor shall not prevent the registration of the design. The publication of the design’s description during the exhibition time or afterward will not prevent the design from being registered.

However, there are several standards that must be met in order to register the design after the exhibition. The exhibitor exhibiting the design or a product embodying the design, or the publisher publishing a description of the design, must provide a prior notice to the controller in the prescribed manner. A design registration application must be filed within six months of the date of the design’s exhibition or publication of the design’s description.

The examiner conducts a novelty search, article- or class-wise, by methodically looking through numerous databases and comparing the design in question with published designs to uncover distinctive aspects in order to determine whether it is original or not. If the proposed design is not novel, earlier publications are referenced in the search report and forwarded to the controller.

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