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Industrial Designs In India: Registration, Pros And Cons Of Industrial Designs Act, 2000

With the increasing population, technological advancements, and easy access to technology, there is an increase in innovation and creativity among people worldwide. Trade and business are influenced by the high demand and supply of various products in the economy, which is increasing day by day. Not only is there an increase in the quantity of products, but also in the quality and variety of products available in every market. The increased production results in a variety of products for society to choose from, creating confusion in selecting the best one.

Consequently, the consumption of products depends not only on their usage but also on other factors such as shape, size, and many other distinguishing features among similar products. In this scenario of high competition and variety, innovators and creators need to protect their designs from being copied or stolen, preventing them from receiving the recognition, credibility, and economic benefits they deserve for their innovative and creative work.

There is a need to safeguard their interests so that no one can enjoy the recognition, credibility, and monetary benefits that rightfully belong to them. Laws are required to protect them from exploitation. In this article, we will discuss the theoretical relevance of the Industrial Designs Act of 2000.

Principles of industrial design

Dieter Rams, a renowned industrial designer, stated the principles which influence the industrial designs' laws and industrial design as a concept with the relevant solutions in the book "Ten Principles for Good Design."
The principles are as follows:
  1. Good design is innovative:
    Every design should be unique and distinctive from the other designs which already exist. In this dynamic and evolutionary world individuals are always seeking fresh and new designs to explore.
  2. Good design makes a product useful:
    While designing, the purpose of the product should be taken in mind and accordingly, the product should be designed taking into consideration the practical approach. Different people prefer different designs of products for various occasions as formal, casual, fancy, luxury, etc. however a good design always serves its purpose.
  3. Good design is aesthetic:
    Rams stated that a good design should be visually pleasing, original, unique and serve the purpose in the most convenient way.
  4. Good design is understandable:
    Design should be user-friendly and not very complex and complicated to use without any confusion and perplexity.
  5. Good design is unobtrusive:
    As Rams believed in a minimalistic approach and prefers simplicity, he believes that the results and the purpose of using the product should be of high priority and the design should not be over-prioritized.
  6. Good design is honest:
    Rams was all about honesty in design. He advocated for products that are true to their purpose, materials, and construction. He believed that design should not deceive or mislead users.
  7. Good design is long-lasting:
    According to Rams, a good design must be durable and sustainable. Enduring designs are reliable and always preferred by the users. Long-lasting products are also good for the environment.
  8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail:
    A good design is one that is carefully crafted, with attention to detail and utility of the product. The design should be free of any errors, vagueness, or ambiguity that could hinder the product's usability and usefulness.
  9. Good design is environmentally friendly:
    Rams mentioned in his book that it is the responsibility of the designer to consider the impact of their products on the environment and make eco-friendly products.
  10. Good design is as little design as possible:
    Rams believed in simplicity, while eliminating unnecessary elements, and emphasizing on the essentials. He stated the design should be minimalistic and easy to maintain and carry, and focused on the practicality of the product.

Industrial Design Act, 2000

In the 19th century, the importance of safeguarding industrial designs was recognized. To provide protection for designs, Act No. XV of 1859 was established, which was later renamed as "The Patterns and Designs Protection Act".

Patterns and Designs Protection Act, 1872 came into existence and protected the rights of the owners. The rights include the usage, sale and manufacturing of the product. However, the Act only provided this protection for a short period making it difficult for the creators to protect their designs in the long run.

Inventions and Designs Act, 1888 repealed and amended the former law.

Then, British Patent and Designs Act, 1907 came into existence and laid down the framework related to the patent and designs which are still prevalent in current laws.

The law related to patent and designs then separated and amended and enacted as the Designs Act, 1911 and The Patents Act, 1970. The Acts dealt with the registration, infringements, remedies and other perticulars regarding the Industrial Designs and Patents respectively.

After the various international treaties and conventions, the Designs Act, 2000 was enacted according to the international standards. Law regarding Industrial Designs are currently governed by the Designs Act, 2000, and the Designs Rules, 2001.

Features of Industrial Designs Act, 2000

  1. Definition of Industrial Designs: The Act defines industrial designs as the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament, or composition of lines or colors applied to any article under Sec. 2(d).
  2. Registration Process: The Act laid down rules and establish a registration system for industrial designs, allowing creators to protect their designs by registering them with the Design Office, which gives the credit and recognition to the creators and protect them from imitation of their designs.
  3. Exclusive Rights: The Act grants the registered owner of an industrial design the exclusive right to make, use, sell, or distribute the design, preventing others from using it without permission. The act also includes the provisions for remedies in case of infringement.
  4. Infringement Provisions: The Act outlines provisions for infringement, providing legal remedies for owners of registered designs in case of unauthorized use by others.
  5. Design Piracy: The Act addresses issues related to design piracy by establishing penalties for infringement and providing mechanisms for enforcement.
  6. International Protection: The Act also aligns with international standards and treaties related to industrial designs, allowing for protection in multiple countries through mechanisms like the Hague Agreement.

Advantages of Industrial Designs Act, 2000

The Industrial Designs Act of 2000 in India offers several advantages to creators and businesses seeking to protect their industrial designs. The following are the advantages of the Act:
  1. Protection of Creativity: The major objective of the Act is to protect the rights of the creators. One of the primary advantages of the Act is that it provides legal protection to creators by allowing them to register their industrial designs. This protection helps in safeguarding their creative efforts and investments in developing unique designs.
  2. Exclusive Rights: By registering a design under the Act, the owner is granted exclusive rights to use, make, import, sell, or distribute the design. This exclusivity prevents others from copying or imitating the design, giving the owner a competitive advantage in the market.
  3. Commercial Value: Registered industrial designs can have significant commercial value as they are more reliable because of their guaranteed originality and certification. The Act helps in enhancing the commercial value of designs by providing legal protection against unauthorized use.
  4. Increased Competitiveness: The Act promotes innovation and creativity by incentivizing designers and businesses to invest in developing new and unique designs. This, in turn, enhances competitiveness in the market as companies strive to differentiate their products through distinctive designs.
  5. Market Recognition: A registered industrial design serves as a mark of authenticity and quality, helping consumers identify and distinguish products from competitors. This can lead to increased consumer trust and loyalty, ultimately benefiting businesses.
  6. Legal Remedies: In case of infringement, the Act provides legal remedies to owners of registered designs, such as injunctions, damages, and seizure of infringing goods. This helps in enforcing intellectual property rights and deterring others from unlawfully using protected designs.
  7. International Protection: The Act aligns with international standards and treaties, enabling creators to seek protection for their designs in multiple countries through mechanisms like the Hague Agreement. This facilitates global expansion and market access for businesses with registered designs.

Disadvantages of Industrial Designs Act, 2000

While the Industrial Designs Act of 2000 in India offers various advantages, it also comes with certain limitations that creators and businesses should consider. The following are some drawbacks of the Act and the areas in which the change is required:
  • Limited Protection Scope: The Act primarily focuses on protecting the visual aspects of designs, such as shape, configuration, and ornamentation. This limited scope may not cover other important aspects of a product's design, such as functional features, which could leave certain design elements unprotected.
  • Subjective Criteria: The Act relies on subjective criteria to determine the registrability of industrial designs, such as novelty and originality. This subjectivity can lead to inconsistencies in decision-making by the Design Office, potentially resulting in uncertainty for applicants.
  • High Costs: The process of registering industrial designs under the Act can involve significant costs, including application fees, professional fees for drafting and filing applications, and maintenance fees for renewals. These costs may pose a barrier to small businesses and individual creators seeking design protection. Due to this, it is easy for large businesses to imitate the designs of the small creators.
  • Design Evolution: In industries where design trends evolve rapidly, the Act may not provide adequate flexibility for design modifications or updates. Design owners may face limitations in making changes to their registered designs without jeopardizing their protection.
  • Limited International Harmonization: While the Act aligns with international standards to some extent, there may still be discrepancies between Indian design laws and those of other countries. This lack of complete international harmonization could pose challenges for creators seeking global protection for their designs.
Despite its drawbacks, the Act holds great significance. Nevertheless, there is still room for some changes in the Act.

The procedure of registration of designs

The registration process for industrial designs under the Designs Act, 2000 involves the following steps:
  1. Application for filing:
    • Fill out Form 1 with the required details like name, address, nationality, article name, class number, and service address in India. Only a registered patent agent or legal practitioner can be an authorized agent. The application must be signed by the applicant or their authorized agent.
    • Submit the following documents with the design application:
      • Four representations of the article showing the design features from different views.
      • A statement of novelty and disclaimer (if applicable) on each representation sheet, signed and dated.
      • Power of attorney if needed.
      • Priority documents for convention applications under Section 44 of the Designs Act, 2000.
      • For small entities, submit Form 24 and supporting documents.
    • After filing of the design application with the prescribed fee, the design application is accorded with a date and a serial number. The serial number eventually becomes the registration number of the design post-registration.
  2. Examination:
    • The Examiner of designs does a formality check to determine if the application has fulfilled the prescribed criteria. Then, an examination is conducted to determine the novelty of the design and if there are any similar designs on the Register. The examiner then communicates the examination report to the applicant or their agent, highlighting any defects or objections noticed during the examination. The applicant has to correct the defects within 6 months from the official date of the examination report.
  3. Objections raised:
    • If there are no objections, the design is registered and notified in the Patent Office Journal. However, if there are objections, the applicant must comply within 6 months or face abandonment. A hearing may be provided if the applicant contests the objections. Once registration is completed, the application is published in the Patent Office Journal with the same application and registration number.
  4. Publication in an official journal:
    • As mentioned under section 7 of the Act, the application gets published in the Patent Office Journal within one month after the registration is completed. This made the designs open to public inspection.
  5. Validity of registered Designs:
    • The owner of a registered design will hold the copyright for 10 years from the registration date. An application for extending the copyright period can be submitted to the Controller before the initial 10-year term expires, and the Controller can extend the copyright for an additional 5 years by paying the required fee. This is in accordance with section 11 of the Designs Act, 2000.

Cases related to Industrial Designs Act, 2000

Bharat Glass Tube Limited v. Gopal Glass Works Limited, 2008[1]
In this case, Gopal Glass Works registered designs for glass sheets under the Designs Act, 2000, using engraved rollers from a German company. Bharat Glass Tube Limited imitated these designs, leading to a legal dispute. The appellant claimed a lack of novelty in the design, citing evidence from a German company and a UK registration. The respondent defended their exclusive rights in India. The Controller raised issues on novelty, publication outside India, and public domain status. The registration was cancelled due to a lack of novelty and publication issues. The case underscores the importance of protecting original designs and the complexities of determining ownership and novelty.

In the case, the court emphasized the importance of novelty and originality in design registrations. Gopal Glass Works, the respondent, won the case based on their exclusive user rights in India for at least five years and the lack of novelty found in the design imitated by Bharat Glass Tube Limited. The cancellation of the design registration was due to this lack of novelty, setting a legal precedent for future design cases in India. This case highlighted the significance of protecting original designs and ensuring fair competition in the realm of design law.

M/s S K Industries v. Dipak Ghosh, 2007[2]
In this case, M/s S.K. Industries Pvt. Ltd. accused Mr. Dipak Ghosh of trademark infringement for using the mark 'OK Super Star' similar to the plaintiff's marks 'Mahak' and 'Mahak Star'. The court granted an injunction against the defendant for infringing the plaintiff's trademark due to the deceptive similarity of the marks. Additionally, the plaintiff had a design registration for the jelly cup design, which the defendant was also accused of infringing. The court criticized the lack of novelty and application of mind in the design registration but did not address jurisdiction issues. This case underscores the significance of safeguarding trademarks and registered designs, cautioning businesses to avoid using similar marks and designs to prevent infringement.

To conclude, the Industrial Designs Act of 2000 is a crucial piece of legislation that protects the interests of innovators and creators in India. The act is aimed at safeguarding their designs from being copied or stolen, thereby providing them with the recognition, credibility, and economic benefits they deserve for their creative and innovative work. The principles of industrial design laid down by Dieter Rams provide a useful framework for understanding the key characteristics of good design, which are also reflected in the act.

With the increasing demand for innovative and creative products in the market, the Industrial Designs Act of 2000 plays a vital role in promoting innovation and creativity in India while protecting the rights of designers and creators.

  • � What is Industrial Design? Overview, History, & Examples (
  • � Industrial design in IPR - iPleaders
  • � 200016.pdf (
  • � Industrial Design Registration Process in India - IPR STUDIO
  • � 6 Steps To Design Registration in India in 2024: Needs, Benefits & Procedures (
  1. Bharat Glass Tube Limited vs Gopal Glass Works Limited, Appeal (civil) 3185 of 2008
  2. M/S S.K.Industries Pvt. Ltd. vs Mr. Dipak Ghosh@Mana Da Trading, IA No. 10778/2007 in CS(OS) No. 1300/2007

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