A design is the overall appearance of a product. The visual features that form the design include the shape, configuration, pattern and ornamentation of the product. It does not include the feel of the product, what it is made from or how it works.
A design is a type of intellectual property and in India it may be published or registered under the Designs Act 2000.
To enable registration, a design must be new and distinctive. ‘New’ means the design has not been publicly used in India nor has it been published in a document within or outside India.
The Benefits of Registration
A registered design can be a valuable commercial asset. As the registered owner, you:
- have the exclusive right to use the design specified in your registration
- have the exclusive right to authorise other people to use your design as specified in the registration
- have a registered design which is ‘personal property’ that can grow in value and can be sold
- have a registration which covers the whole of India
Many registered design owners will not need protection beyond registration for their design. However, for those who need to enforce protection of their design, i.e. to sue for infringement, registration is the first step.
Term of Protection
For designs, the term of protection is 10 years from the date of registration for that design. The protection can be extended for a period of another 5 years after the initial 10 years are over. Once this period is complete the design falls in public domain and may be used unrestricted by whom so ever.