The registration and protection of designs in India are regulated by the Designs Act, 2000 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) and the Design Rules, 2001 (hereinafter referred to as “the Rules”).  

A design is defined under Section 2(d) of the Designs Act, 2000, as only the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament or composition of lines or colours that are applied to any article that is a two dimensional or three dimensional or in both forms by an by an industrial process or any means whether mechanical, manual or chemical, separated or combined, which is the finished article are judged solely by the eye; but does not include any mode any mode or principle of construction or anything which is in substance a mere mechanical device.  

Design Registration Process: 

Design Search:  

The first step to design registration in conducting a  a ‘public search’ to find out if design with identical configuration have already been registered or filed. This search can be carried out by visiting the public search portal at https://search.ipindia.gov.in/designsearch. This search is conducted to reduce the chances of any third-party oppositions.  

Application: 

  • An application for registration of designs can be made in accordance with Section 5 of the Designs Act and Rule 11 the for the registration of a design to the Controller of Designs. Such application shall be accompanied by four copies of the representation of the design and the application and each of copy of the representation of the design shall be dated and signed by the applicant.  
  • The applicant needs to recognize the exact class of design from the Locarno classification based on the function of the Article. 
  • The applicant if required by the Controller may endorse on the application and each of the representation a brief statement of the novelty he claims for his design.  

Examination Report: 

As per Rule 17 of the Rules, upon receipt of an application for registration, the controller may accept it, if he considers that there is no lawful objection in the report of examiner to the design being registered. If the application is accepted the Controller will issue the certificate of registration as specified in the Fifth Schedule of the Rules.  

Objection:  

  • As per Rule 18 of the Rules,  in the event of any objection raised in the examination report, statement of objections shall be sent to the applicant in writing. The applicant shall be required to make amendments or remove the objection within 3 months from the date of receipt of official communication of the objection. 
  • The applicant or his agent may apply for a hearing under Rule 18 within a period of three month from the date of communication of the statement of objections if such applicant desires to be heard. 
  • In the event that Controller considers it desirable to do so, irrespective of whether or not the applicant has refiled his application, may fix a date for hearing having regard to the time period of 6 months as prescribed in Rule 21 remaining for completion of the application.
  • After hearing the applicant or without a hearing if the applicant has not attended or has notified that he does not desire to be heard, the Controller may register or refuse to register the design as he thinks fit. 

Decision of Controller:  

The decision of the Controller containing the grounds and materials used by him in arriving the decision at such hearing as aforesaid shall be communicated in writing to the applicant or his agent.  

Publication of the particulars of registered design: 

On acceptance of the design filed in respect of an application, the Controller shall direct the registration and publication of the particulars of the application and the representation of the article to which the design has been applied, in the Official Gazette. When publishing in the Gazette, the Controller may select one or more views of the representation of the design, which, in his opinion, would depict the design in the best possible manner.  

Registering designs: 

When a design is accepted, they shall be entered in the Register of Design, in addition to the particulars required by the Act, the number of the design, the class in which it is registered, the date of filling the application for registration in this country, the reciprocity date, if any, claim for the registration, and such other matters as would effect the validity or proprietorship of the design. 

Benefits of Registering Design: 

When a design is registered, the registered proprietor of the design shall have copyright in the design during ten years from the date of registration. 

Any person apart from the registered proprietor and in the event of piracy of registered design, a registered proprietor can institute a suit for injunction as well as recovery of damages against any person engaged in piracy of registered design.