Designs Act, 2000

Designs Act, 2000

The law protecting designs is governed by Designs Act, 2000. This act has replaced the Designs Act , 1911.

Design is defined under the act as only meaning  the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament or composition of lines or colours applied to any article whether in two dimensional or three dimensional or in both forms, by any industrial process or means, whether manual, mechanical or chemical, separate or combined, which in the finished article appeal to and are judged solely by the eye; but does not include any mode or principle of construction or anything which is in substance a mere mechanical device. Definition of design does not include any trade mark  or property mark as defined in section 479 of the Indian Penal Code or any artistic work .

A design to be registrable  must be new or original.

‘original’, in relation to a design, means originating from the author of such design and includes the cases which though old in themselves yet are new in their application.

It should not previously published in India or anywhere in the world. It should be significantly distinguishable from known designs or combination of known designs and should not comprise or contain scandalous or obscene matter. It should also be not contrary to public order or morality.

A design can  be registered in respect of any or all of the articles comprised in a prescribed class of articles. ‘Article’ under the act is defined as any article of manufacture and any substance, artificial, or partly artificial and partly natural and includes any part of an article capable of being made and sold separately.

Controller’s determination on the class to which any particular article falls shall be final. On the design being registered, the  Controller shall grant a certificate of registration to the Proprietor.

When a design is registered, the registered proprietor of the design shall have copyright in the design. Copyright under the act means the exclusive right to apply a design to any article in any class in which the design is registered.


Proprietor of the design shall have copyright in the design during ten years from the date of registration. Provision for the extension of the of the period of the copyright for another 5 years is also provided under the act.

Effect of disclosure on copyright.-The disclosure of a design by the proprietor to any other person, in such circumstances as would make it contrary to good faith for that other person to use or publish the design, and the disclosure of a design in breach of good faith by any person, other than the proprietor of the design, and the acceptance of a first and confidential order for articles bearing a new or original textile design intended for registration, shall not be deemed to be a publication of the design sufficient to invalidate the copyright thereof if registration thereof is obtained subsequently to the disclosure or acceptance.

A registered design shall have to all intents the like effect as against the Government as it has against any person. The designs act uses the term piracy of registered designs instead of term infringement.

The act forbids any person for the purpose of sale to apply or cause to be applied to any article in any class of articles in which the design is registered, the design or any fraudulent or obvious imitation thereof, except with the license or written consent of the registered proprietor, or to do anything with a view to enable the design to be so applied; or to import for the purposes of sale, without the consent of the registered proprietor, any article belonging to the class in which the design has been registered, and having applied to it the design or any fraudulent or obvious imitation thereof. It even forbids one knowlingly to publish or expose or cause to be published or exposed for sale such article.

Any suit regarding contravention under the act will not be instituted in a court below the court of District Judge. The wrongdoer shall be liable to pay to the registered proprietor of the design a sum not exceeding twenty-five thousand rupees recoverable as a contract debt, or if the proprietor elects to bring a suit for the recovery of damages for any such contravention, and for an injunction against the repetition thereof, to pay such damages as may be awarded and to be restrained by injunction accordingly.

The provisions of the Patents Act, 1970 with regard to certificates of the validity of a patent, and to the remedy in case of groundless threats of legal proceedings by a patentee shall apply in the case of registered designs in like manner as they apply in the case of patents, with the substitution of references to the copyright in a design for reference to a patent, and of references to the proprietor of a design for references to patentee, and of references to the design for references to the invention.

Any design registered under the act is not eligible for protection under the Copyright Act.