India: How To Register A Design

Last Updated: 15 January 2018
Article by N. Mahabir
  1. Design is a right created by the statue which is different from Trade Mark and Copyright.  Without registration, the creator or owner of a design may be left without any right.
  1. In terms of Design Act, 2000, design means only 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, which in the finished article appeal to and are judged solely by the eye.  It is possible to conduct an online search in the records of the Controller of Design.  This record has been updated recently, hence, the search facility is getting completed.
  1. It is important that complete and correct information is filed so that the application is processed faster.  The application requires few information to be filed along with the application:
  1. Name and address of the Applicant;
  2. Legal Status of the Applicant i.e. whether the applicant is natural person, Company etc.  If the Applicant claims to be a start-up (registered with the Government of India as a start-up), the certificate has to be filed.
  3. Description of article to be filled in along with identification of the class as per the classification. 
  4. The nature of applicant determines the official fee for the application. 
  5. The image or drawing of the article is to be filed along with the application.
  6. Claim of novelty is to be made in the application i.e. whether any part of the article or the entire article is novel.
  1. The government fees for filing a design application for a natural person and start up is half of that of an artificial person like a Company.  In order to encourage online filing, law provides for a 10 % discount for online filing vis-à-vis paper filing at Design office.
  1. An important aspect of a Design Application is the image / drawing of the article.  An applicant could take some precautions to avoid objections which filing the image:
  1. Image should be clear.
  2. Taken on a contrasting background.
  3. Image should be taken from all angles like front, rear, top, bottom, sides, perspective view.
  4. Entire article should be visible in all the images and no part of the article should be missing.
  1. After filing of the application, it is examined by the Controller of Design.  The Design Office conducts a formal evaluation of the application to verify the formal particulars as well as detailed evaluation of the application. 
  1. At the formal evaluation, the formal compliances are checked.  For example:  whether the authorization from the applicant is filed, article fall in the claimed class or not, applicant's identification and particulars are correct or nor, any column which ought to have been filed while filing the application has been left out or not. Considering that applications are filed online by applicants directly, it makes sense to have a formal evaluation so that minor defects can be cured at the early stage itself.
  1. In the detailed evaluation, it is verified whether the applied design is registrable. The novelty statement in the application is mapped with the article.  It is also seen whether other parameters of the Act are met by the article in question or not.
  1. The applicant is given an opportunity to file a written response to the examination report / office objection and make amendments to overcome the objection.  If the Controller is satisfied with the written response, the application is accepted.  If the Controller has any objection, generally, an opportunity of hearing is given.  If the Controller is not convinced that the design is registrable, it is rejected at the hearing. 
  1. After the design is accepted, it is published in the Official Gazette.  The General public thus becomes aware that a design has been registered.
  1. It is possible to file a convention application from the priority date of the design application filed in a country outside India.
  1. A registered design is valid for 10 years from the date of application, which can be renewed for another term of 05 years.  The Design office is completing the entire process within 10 to 12 months in some cases which are straight forward cases of registration.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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