Industrial designs are an element of intellectual property

Industrial designs refer to creative activity which result in the ornamental or formal appearance of a product and design right refers to a novel or original design that is accorded to the proprietor of a validly registered design. Industrial designs are an element of intellectual property.

Under the TRIPS Agreement, minimum standards of protection of industrial designs have been provided for. As a developing country, India has already amended its national legislation to provide for these minimal standards.

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The essential purpose of design law it to promote and protect the design element of industrial production.

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It is also intended to promote innovative activity in the field of industries. The existing legislation on industrial designs in India is contained in the New Designs Act, 2000 and this Act will serve its purpose well in the rapid changes in technology and international developments.

The duration of the registration of a design is initially ten years from the date of registration, but in cases where claim to priority has been allowed the duration is ten years from the priority date.

This initial period of registration may be extended by further period of 5 years on an application made in Form-3 accompanied by a fee of Rs. 2,000/- to the Controller before the expiry of the said initial period of Copyright.


The proprietor of a design may make application for such extension even as soon as the design is registered.

Industrial design rights are defined as the part of the intellectual property rights which confers the rights of exclusivity to the visual designs of objects which are generally not popular utilitarian.

It safeguards the appearance, style, design of the industrial object such as spare parts, textiles, furniture. According to the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA), “Industrial Design (ID) is the professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer.

“As these designs consist of the aesthetic features therefore they do not provide any protection to the technical features of the article. The origin of design rights can be traced back in the United Kingdom as ‘Designing and Printing of Linen Act’ (1787).


Designs are used in different products and across the various industries like medical, handicrafts, jewelry, electrical appliances etc. It’ precludes of any trademark or artistic type of work.

In India the ever first design related legislation was enacted by the British Government and was popularly named as the Designs Act, 1911. The Hague Agreement in concern to the international deposit of industrial designs, the WIPO administered treaty; the procedure of the international registration has been laid down.

The applicant intended to enjoy the industrial design rights can file the application with the WIPO or in the national office of the nations which are member of the treaty.

Due to the application filing with the WIPO, the designs will be protected in various member nations of the treaty. If the right holder wants to protect its rights in multiple jurisdictions then it is required to seek protection separately from each nation.

India has still not accepted the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, which offers the industrial design owner the right of protecting its design product in various countries on mere filling of the application with the international bureau of the WIPO.

Industrial designs help in making any product or item more beautiful and appealing; henceforth they help in increasing commercial viability of product and increasing its market potentiality.

The industrial design registration helps in safeguarding the ornamental or aesthetic element of the article. Whenever an industrial design is being registered it gives exclusionary rights to owner against unauthorized use like copying or imitation by third party without his consent.

This in turns facilitate fair flow of investment. An effectual system also helps in benefiting public by encouraging fair and effective competition and trading practices which at large bolster the creativity and the final result comes in the form of attractive and beautiful products.

Safeguarding industrial designs help in the overall economic development which promotes creativity in the industrial arena.

Registration of rights gives the following rights:

(i) Right to exclusive use of the design

(ii) Right to protect the design from piracy

(iii) Usage of rights even against the Government.

The Controller-General of Patents Designs and Trade Marks administers the registration of designs.


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