Law – Designs Act, 2000

Ministry – DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and industry

Apple iPhones are manufactured in China. But, China is able to capture paltry 2-5% of its value while overwhelming part is cornered by USA. This is mainly attributed to value added by Designing and Research, which is based in USA. Thus, importance of design protection can’t be overstressed.

As per WIPO – ‘In a legal sense, an industrial design constitutes the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article.’

‘An industrial design may consist of three dimensional features, such as the shape of an article, or two dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color.’

Industrial designs refer to creative activity which results in the ornamental or formal appearance of a product and ‘design right’ refers to a novel or original design that is accorded to the proprietor of a validly registered design. Industrial designs are an element of intellectual property.

In principle, the owner of a registered industrial design or of a design patent has the right to prevent third parties from making, selling or importing articles bearing or embodying a design which is a copy, or substantially a copy, of the protected design, when such acts are undertaken for commercial purposes. Such rights are perpetual.

Under the TRIPS Agreement, minimum standards of protection of industrial designs have been provided for. As a developing country, India has already amended its national legislation to provide for these minimal standards.

The existing legislation on industrial designs in India is contained in the New Designs Act, 2000 and this Act will serve its purpose well in the rapid changes in technology and international developments. India has also achieved a mature status in the field of industrial designs and in view of globalization of the economy, the present legislation is aligned with the changed technical and commercial scenario and made to conform to international trends in design administration.

Overall, the law of industrial designs and enforcement thereof has been quite positive.   At present, approximately 8000 applications are filed annually. This is much below India’s potential and there is scope for considerable improvement. Concerted steps shall be taken particularly to increase sensitization to this law especially in the MSMEs and the informal sector.