Trademark protection can protect your designs and logos. Find out how to get started with this easy-to-follow explanation of how the registration process works, how much it costs, and how long it takes.

A design is the appearance of a product. The visual features that forms a design including 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.

Types of Designs That Can Be Trademarked

Many types of designs can be trademarked, including:

  • Logos
  • Product designs
  • A design for your product’s label or packaging, if it helps to identify the source of the product in the package (like the contour Coke bottle)
  • Color schemes, if they identify your product and distinguish it from competitors

However, in order to be eligible for trademark protection, a design must meet USPTO standards for uniqueness. You cannot trademark a design that is too generic. In addition, your design cannot be confusingly similar to another design that is already trademarked or for which there is a pending trademark application.

The Benefits of Registration

A registered design can be a valuable commercial asset. As the registered owner

  • You have an exclusive right to use the design described in your registration.
  • You have an exclusive right to give permission other people to use your design as described in the registration.
  • You have a registered design that is a ‘personal property’ that can grow in value and can be sold.
  • You have a registration which covers the all 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.