India: Importance Of India As A Target Country For Design Registration

Last Updated: 30 May 2018
Article by Madhur Tulsiani
Most Read Contributor in India, January 2019

India has witnessed a long journey since 2000, when its GDP at 46,214.68 crores INR started to rise phenomenally to almost five times, to around 2.26 Lakh Crore INR in 2016 1. Since contribution towards it can be traced back to three major sectors of economy, mainly, agrarian, manufacturing and service sector, it is reasonable to observe that growth must also have been observed in these individual sectors as well. Although it is true, but not all sectors displayed equal proportions of growth. Service sector paced forward, while manufacturing and agrarian sectors lagged behind. Since there is a little scope to add value in the agriculture sector, the onus of boosting the economy further falls upon the manufacturing sector.

With this concept in mind, under the banner of "MAKE IN INDIA" initiative 2, it was envisaged by the present Government to bring an increase in the share of manufacturing in the country's Gross Domestic Product from 16% to 25% by 2022 by making sure that the sector ensures and endures a growth rate of 12-14% per annum over the medium term 3. In order to support this vision, funds were mustered from every source possible and it is evident from the fact that cumulative Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India's manufacturing sector reached US$ 73.70 billion during April 2017-December 2017 4. In wake of such heavy investments made, it is obvious to assume that the sector will observe some turbulence on the positive side.

Further, a lot of policy related measures have been taken in this regard, including improvisation of Intellectual Property (IP) protection measures and their effective administration, including computerized work flow along with digital manuals that were made available to the applicants have streamlined the process. However, it can be observed that executive focus is highly customised with regard to different kinds of intellectual property rights. This opens up scope to find out the potential among those regarded as the underdogs.

Moving ahead, from a recent report from World Economic Forum on "Global Competitive Index – 2018" 5, India was placed at 40th position while Switzerland was placed at the top. On a comparative analysis, the score for Basic requirements section which comprises of Institutions, of which Intellectual Property protection is a part, India scores 4.4 points at 52nd position, while Switzerland is on the top with 6.6 points. The margin in both rankings as well as points is quite high, and steps taken to develop this domain can help to bring early signs of positive change.

The domain of Intellectual Property is reasonably wide and is divided into two parts: copyright and industrial property. Copyrights generally do not require registration which makes it difficult to track and monitor. According to Article 1(2) of Paris Convention for Protection of Intellectual Property which reads as "The protection of industrial property has as its object patents, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks, service marks, trade names, indications of source or appellations of origin, and the repression of unfair competition" 6. Industrial property refers to assets created primarily for the advancement of technology, industry and trade such as patents (inventions), industrial designs, trademarks, service marks, trade secrets and geographic indications of origin 7.

Industrial design (also interchangeably referred to as "Design" or "Design Patent") recognizes creation new and original features of new shape, configuration, surface pattern, ornamentations and composition of lines or colours applied to articles which in the finished state appeal to and is judged solely by the eye 8.

A Design, under Section 2(d) of The Designs Act, 2000 9 refers to the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornamentation or composition of lines or colours applied to any article, whether in two or three dimensional (or both) forms. This may be applied by any industrial process or means (manual, mechanical or chemical) separately or by a combined process, which in the finished article appeals to and judged solely by the eye.

Design does not include any mode or principle of construction or anything which is a mere mechanical device. It also does not include any trade mark as defined under Section 2(l) of The Trade Marks Act, 1999 10 or any artistic work described under Section 2(c) of The Copyright Act, 1957 11. Also, property marks as defined under Section 479 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 12 will be excluded from the scope of design.

If the design is not new or original, or cannot be distinguished from the existing design or combination of such designs or contains scandalous or obscene matter, the such design shall not be registered. Further, a design is barred from registration if it has been disclosed to public prior to the filing date 13.

The registration of a design, under Section 11(a) 14 confers upon the registered proprietor the exclusive right to apply a design to the article in the class in which the design has been registered. This implies conversely that no right exists of any proprietor of a design that has not been registered, and hence cannot be enforced in the Court of Law against any such infringer. A registered proprietor of the design is entitled for protection of his intellectual property. He can take step against infringement, if his right recognised by law is infringed by any person. He can license or sell his registered design as legal property for a consideration or royalty. Registration initially confers this right for ten years from the date of registration, with a further extension of five years. The right expires if extension for registration is not applied for within stipulated time 15.

Hence, non – registration possesses a potential loss of any enforceable right against the infringer, as a risk management tool. Moreover, the fee charged for registration seems to be reasonable keeping in view the rights protected by it for a period of about fifteen years. For instance, it takes around INR 1000 for registration of a design 16. And if a design is meant for industrial production, it must provide returns greater than the registration fee, which is again quite possible.

However, in the absence of any registration for a given design, the design is vulnerable to piracy and proprietor stands to lose market as well as profit share at his/her own expense. An estimate of losses can be observed by drawing inference from the fact the total international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is estimated to value around half trillion USD 17 with around half of it effecting the industries that could have been protected under designs act. The business of piracy and counterfeit goods also result in employment losses of 2.5 million, with a total global economic and social cost, when estimated liberally seem to touch around a trillion USD. Also, it is assumed for UK market that it may lead to displacement of more than half of the market share of genuine products 18. In India, it is responsible for eating away a market share of 30% with estimated losses of 9000 crores INR to Auto components market alone with total loss accruing among seven prominent sectors was estimated to be around 73000 crores INR 19.

It is worth mentioning that out of 24898 applications filed, design registrations at about 2935 account for only one – eighth of the total share in comparison with 9584 patents granted in the year 2016 – 2017 20. This itself talks about the scope in increase of design registration as it is completely product based, and product are re – modified and re – designed in order to maintain their demand in the market.

For the purpose of registration of a design, the procedure is carried out in accordance with Rule 10 of The Design Rules, 2001 21 which deals with the classification of goods with respect to which registration of design has to take place. There are 31 different classes with Class 99 which is a miscellaneous class and includes all products not included in previous classes.

Any contravention of The Designs Act, 2000 by the infringer will impose a liability to pay to a registered proprietor a sum of up to twenty – five thousand rupees under contract debt. Further, if a suit is brought, damages valuing up to fifty – thousand rupees along with injunction can be prayed 22.

India, on the other hand is a huge promising market, being placed at number 3 due to its sheer size 23, and hence can act as an attractive site for design registration. When collaborated with the vision of transforming the nation into a highly industrialised manufacturing hub. This is further consolidated by when it is observed that top corporate applications are lined up for the purposes of registration 24. Also, the design registration is available to foreign players who wish to enter and exploit the open Indian market. Further, Indian manufacturers must also make sure that their designs are not only protected by The Designs Act, 1999, but also by the design law of those economies where they wish to sell their product. The registration under The Designs Act is an effective and cost – friendly risk management tool for both domestic as well as foreign players and hence should not be avoided at any cost.














[13] (ibid)

[14] (ibid)

[15] (ibid)



[18] (ibid)



[21] (ibid)

[22] (ibid)

[23] (ibid)

[24] (ibid)

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Sign Up
Gain free access to lawyers expertise from more than 250 countries.
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Newsalert
Select Topics
Select Regions
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions