What is Registered Design? – Meaning, Eligibility, Benefits, & Enforcement

  • Setindiabiz Team
  • May 3, 2023
What is Registered Design
Registered designs play a crucial role in safeguarding and promoting innovation and creativity in the field of industrial designs. In this blog, we will explore the advantages and enforcement of registered designs, shedding light on their significance in the context of Indian Laws.
With a rapidly evolving marketplace, protecting the aesthetic and ornamental aspects of a product has become paramount for businesses to protect their brand identity and enhance their brand recognition. Registered designs offer a legal framework that grants its exclusive rights to its creators and protects it from any unauthorized use.
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From providing a competitive edge to fostering brand recognition, registered designs offer a range of benefits to designers and businesses alike. By securing a registered design, creators gain the exclusive right to use and commercially exploit its benefits, preventing others from replicating or profiting from their original work. Moreover, the enforcement of registered design rights plays a vital role in discouraging design infringement and maintaining a fair, level-playing field in the market.

What Is Registered Design? - Meaning & Overview

Registered designs refer to the visual appearance or aesthetic features of a product registered under the Indian Designs Act of 2000. It encompasses the unique design, shape, configuration, pattern, ornamentation, or composition of colors that give a product its distinctive look and functionality.
A registered design helps its designers or creators gain exclusive rights of ownership and usership over it, allowing them to legally challenge any unauthorized copying or imitation. Registered designs provide a valuable tool for designers and businesses to protect their visual creations and establish a competitive edge in the market.
Registering a design involves a formal application process, where the applicant submits the necessary documentation and pays the prescribed fees to the appropriate Registering Authority. In India, this process is entirely online, and can be completed on the website of the Controller General of Patents, Patents, and Trademarks.
Once registered, the owner receives a design registration certificate, affirming his exclusive rights over the registered design. This legal protection ensures that others cannot replicate or profit from the registered design without permission or authorization of the owner, providing peace of mind and a means to enforce the rights if infringement occurs.

What Designs Are Eligible For Being Registered in India?

When it comes to registering a design, certain criteria need to be met to ensure eligibility. Not all designs can be registered under the legal framework of the Designs Act. It is essential to understand what designs qualify for registration and what designs do not.
Those Designs shall not be registered which are:
  • An Unoriginal Creation: Here “Original”, in relation to a design, means originating exclusively from the author of such design and this includes the cases where the design might be old in themselves, yet new in their application.
  • Designs Already in the Public Domain: Designs disclosed to the public anywhere in India or in any other country by publication in touchable form or by use or in any other way prior to the filing date, or where applicable, the prior user’s date of the application for registration.
  • Not-distinct – Not expressively different from recognized, registered and already existing designs.
  • Contains Offensive Elements – Comprises or contains disgraceful or offensive matter.
  • Exclusive Of Function – In other words, outer appearance should not serve any technical purpose to the product as the functionality of a product is not protected under a design application.
  • Prohibited Applications: Applied to certain articles such as wall plaques, medals, printed matters primarily of a literal or artistic character for e.g. calendar, certificates, coupons, greetings cards, leaflets, maps, playing cards, postcards, stamps and articles similar to it.
  • Layouts & Blueprints: Methods or principles of construction for e.g. layout of the architecture of a building, design of the building, etc. These can instead be protected as Copyrights.
  • Computer programs – Codes or Programming Languages for Computer & Software Applications.

What are the Benefits of Registered Designs?

Registered designs offer a range of valuable advantages to designers, businesses, and innovators. By securing legal protection for the visual aspects of their products, creators can reap numerous benefits that contribute to their success in the marketplace. Let’s analyze what these benefits are!

1. Exclusive Rights and Protection:

Registered designs grant design owners exclusive rights to the visual appearance and aesthetic attributes of their products.They provide legal protection against unauthorized copying, imitation, or replication of the registered design. Design owners have the right to prevent others from using similar designs, ensuring their creations remain unique and distinctive in the market.

2. Market Advantage and Commercial Opportunities:

Registered designs provide a competitive edge to businesses by distinguishing their products from those of competitors.They help create a strong brand identity and recognition, enhancing the market positioning of the business. Registered designs can attract customers and drive sales by offering visually appealing and innovative products.

3. Increased Brand Value and Recognition:

Having registered designs enhances the reputation and credibility of a brand or business. It demonstrates a commitment to quality, innovation, and design excellence, attracting customer loyalty. Registered designs can serve as valuable assets that contribute to the overall value of a business, making it more appealing to investors or potential partners.

4. Licensing and Commercialization Opportunities:

Registered designs can be licensed or sold to generate additional revenue streams for design owners. They provide opportunities for collaborations, partnerships, and licensing agreements with other businesses in related industries. Design owners can leverage their registered designs to explore new markets, expand product lines, or enter into strategic alliances.

5. Deterrence of Design Infringement:

The registration of designs acts as a deterrent against potential infringers, as it provides legal evidence of ownership and exclusive rights. It strengthens the position of design owners in case of design infringement and disputes, enabling them to take legal action to protect their rights.

How to Enforce Registered Designs In India?

Enforcing registered designs in India is crucial to protect the rights of design owners and maintain a fair marketplace. Design rights enforcement involves taking legal action against those who infringe upon registered designs. In this section, we will explore the methods of enforcing registered designs in India and the applicable laws that govern design rights.

1. Cease and Desist Notices:

Design owners can start the enforcement process by sending cease and desist notices to the alleged infringers. These notices inform the infringers about the registered design rights and demand them to cease the infringing activities. Cease and desist notices serve as a first step towards resolving the matter outside of the courtroom.

2. Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR):

Mediation and ADR methods provide an opportunity for parties to resolve design infringement disputes through negotiation and settlement. Design owners can engage in mediation sessions or other ADR procedures to reach a mutually acceptable resolution with the infringing party. Mediation and ADR can be a quicker and cost-effective alternative to litigation, promoting amicable settlements.

3. Design Infringement Litigation:

If amicable resolution attempts fail, design owners can initiate litigation proceedings against the infringers in the appropriate court. Design infringement cases are typically filed in the Commercial Courts or the High Courts, depending on the value and jurisdiction of the dispute. Litigation allows design owners to present evidence, arguments, and legal claims to seek remedies such as injunctions, damages, and account of profits.

4. Applicable Laws:

The primary legislation governing design rights in India is the Designs Act, 2000, which provides the legal framework for registration and enforcement of designs. Other relevant laws include the Indian Copyright Act, 1957, which protects the artistic aspects of designs, and the Indian Patents Act, 1970, which covers aspects of functionality and technical features. Design owners can rely on these statutes, along with case laws and legal precedents, to assert and defend their design rights in infringement actions.
It is essential for design owners to consult with experienced intellectual property lawyers who specialize in design rights to navigate the enforcement process effectively. They can provide guidance on the most appropriate enforcement strategies and legal remedies based on the specific circumstances of each case.
Enforcing registered designs ensures that design owners can safeguard their creative works, maintain their competitive advantage, and foster an environment that promotes innovation and respect for intellectual property rights in India.

Notable Registered Designs in India: Case Studies

Case Study I: Tata Nano
The Tata Nano, popularly known as the "People's Car," serves as an excellent example of a registered design that played a pivotal role in the success of a brand. The Nano, manufactured by Tata Motors, introduced an innovative and affordable compact car design to the Indian market. The unique exterior design, featuring compact dimensions, sleek lines, and a distinctive shape, captured the attention of consumers looking for a budget-friendly mode of transportation.
The registered design of the Tata Nano contributed significantly to the brand's recognition, wealth, and prosperity. It differentiated the car from competitors, establishing a distinct identity and resonating with the target audience. The design's popularity and affordability made it a preferred choice for urban commuters and first-time car buyers. By leveraging the exclusive rights granted by the registered design, Tata Motors created a niche for itself in the automotive industry, achieved commercial success, and enjoyed increased market share.
Case Study II: Titan Raga Watches Titan
Titan, a renowned Indian watch brand, successfully utilized registered designs to establish its wealth, prosperity, and recognition in the fashion and accessories industry. In particular, Titan's Raga collection of watches stands out as an excellent example of how registered designs can contribute to a brand's success. The registered designs of Titan Raga watches embody elegance, intricacy, and femininity, catering to the preferences of the modern Indian woman.
The registered designs of Titan Raga watches have played a crucial role in capturing the attention of consumers and setting the brand apart from its competitors. The unique designs, featuring delicate and artistic dials, beautifully crafted straps, and embellishments like crystals and pearls, have become synonymous with the brand's commitment to style and quality. These distinctive design elements have not only attracted a loyal customer base but have also contributed to Titan's brand recognition and market position.
By leveraging the exclusive rights granted by registered designs, Titan has been able to protect its unique watch designs and maintain a competitive advantage in the market. The success of the Titan Raga collection showcases the power of registered designs in the fashion industry and how they can elevate a brand's wealth, prosperity, and recognition.

Conclusion

Registered designs in India provide exclusive rights and market advantages to designers, enabling businesses to protect their creative works and gain a competitive edge in the markets. By enforcing design rights and embracing the value of registered designs, stakeholders can foster innovation, safeguard their designs against plagiarism, and contribute to India’s growth in the field of design and innovation.
Moving forward, it is essential for businesses to prioritize the registration and protection of their product designs, seek legal guidance, and proactively safeguard creative endeavors to unlock opportunities for success in the dynamic marketplace.

FAQs

Q1: What is the duration of protection for a registered design in India?

The protection for a registered design in India lasts for a period of ten years from the date of registration, renewable for another five years, totaling a maximum protection period of fifteen years.

Q2: Can multiple designs be included in a single application for registration?

Yes, under the Designs Act, 2000, a single application can include multiple designs as long as they belong to the same class of Locarno Classification.

Q3: Are functional or technical features eligible for registration as designs in India?

No, registered designs in India protect the visual appearance and aesthetic attributes of a product. Functional or technical features are protected under other intellectual property rights, such as patents.

Q4: Can I seek international protection for my design registered in India?

Yes, India is a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and provides provisions for claiming priority from an earlier application in another member country. Additionally, India is also a member of the Hague Agreement, allowing for international registration of industrial designs.

Q5: Can I enforce my unregistered design against infringers in India?

No, to enforce design rights against infringers, the design must be registered in India. Unregistered designs do not enjoy legal protection and cannot be enforced under the Designs Act, 2000.

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