Industrial Designs (ID) are considered to be a significant element in a product’s value chain. This allows a high potential and incentive for profitability for business through investment in ID, especially for large producers. For such product segments, ‘design’ feature is an integral component of the product mix and hence should be protected to avoid imitation with an intention of passing off.

The entities that have a unique and distinct pattern, appearance and design can register under Indian Design Act. The registered owner, under the act, gets the exclusive right to apply the design to any article in the class in which the design is registered. Apart from providing protection of design element of industrial protection, the law aims to promote innovative activity in the field of industries.

Nature of protection of designs under the Copyright Act vis-à-vis the Designs Act

Designs Copyright
Exclusive rights i.e., Complete monopoly for large scale production Only protects against copying
Needs to be registered Copyright is accorded automatically, thus there are no formalities of registration process
Requires originality and novelty The criterion for protection is originality, which is easier to fulfil compared to novelty
Duration of protection is 10 plus and can be extended further by 5 years The duration of protection is much longer (60 years +)
Only confined to the product that it is registered upon Not product specific

The total term of a registered design is 15 years. (Initially 10 years can be extended, by another 5 years.) The Design Wing of Patent Office (Kolkata) is entrusted to administer the provisions under the Design Act, 2000.