Industrial Design

Industrial Design, also known as Patent Design in some parts of the world is protected in India under the (Indian) Designs Act, 2000.

Industrial Design refers to creative activity which results in the ornamental or formal appearance of a product. It is to be noted that India is also a member country of the Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property, 1883 under the arrangement of which a design from a member country is protected under the (Indian) Designs Act, 2000 in a similar manner as an Indian design is protected. It is important to note that India being a member of the Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property, 1883 accords equal protection to the Industrial Designs which are registered in Norway as provided under the (Indian) Designs Act, 2000[1].

However, registration of a design in India is a pre-condition for claiming and enforcing any right under the (Indian) Designs Act, 2000. Protection to any foreign Industrial Design is subject to a precondition i.e. any design which is registered in a convention[2] country, must be applied for registration in India within a period of 6 months from the date of the first convention application, i.e. the first application in the foreign country. The advantage of filing an application within a period of six months from the date of first application is that the Indian application will be treated to have been filed on the same date when the first application for the registration of design was filed.

Registrable Industrial Designs

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, can be registered under the (Indian) Designs Act, 2000. However, functionality aspects of a design are not protected under the (Indian) Designs Act, 2000 as the same are subject matter of patents.

Registration, Cancellation and Enforcement of Designs

Design of an article is not registrable in India, if it –

is not new or original;

has been disclosed to the public anywhere in India or in any other country by publication in tangible form or by use in any other way prior to the filing date or priority date of the application;

is not significantly distinguishable from known designs or combination of known designs;

comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matter.


The above grounds may also be used for cancellation of the registration of any design, and as a defense in an infringement proceeding.

It is advised that any foreign entity, interested in protecting any of its Industrial Design in India, should file an application for registration of design in India within 6 months from the date of the corresponding convention application, i.e. the first application filed in the home country. The advantage of filing an application within a period of six months from the date of first application is that the Indian application will be treated to have been filed on the same date when the first application for the registration of design was filed.


Duration of Protection of a Design

Initially a protection of 10 years is given to the proprietor of a registered design with regard to exclusive rights to sell, make or import the articles and initiating an action against an infringer. This initial period of 10 years can be further extended by a period of 5 years on the payment of renewal fees. In India the maximum validity of a registration under the (Indian) Designs Act, 2000 can be 15 years.

The (Indian) Designs Act, 2000 also introduces international system of classification for registration. Restoration of lapsed designs or renewal of expired registration is also permitted under the (Indian) Designs Act, 2000.

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