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Do’s and Don’ts of Design Registration


Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Kanakkupillai

This blog will examine some of the most important dos and don’ts of design registration under the Designs Act of 2000 to benefit interested readers.

Design Registration in India – An Overview

A design is defined under the Design Act of 2001 as a characteristic of a shape pattern or any type of configuration that includes lines and colors. According to industrial standards, the design can be two dimensional, three dimensional, or both.

The Design Act of 2001’s Section 2D further states that the design can be entirely evaluated by the eye and can be mechanical, manual, chemical, separated, or combined.

An organization’s design is considered intellectual property; to protect it, the design must be registered. This will preserve the design’s esthetic attractiveness.

The incorporation and protection of designs in India are governed by the Designs Act of 2000. The Design Act of 2000 replaced the Act first adopted in 1911. To prevent competitors from stealing your original idea, it is required by law to register your design.

What is a design?

A collection of lines or colours applied to items may have characteristics, shapes, patterns, configurations, or compositions. India’s design registration is governed by the Designs Act of 2000, which went into force on May 11, 2001, and the Design Rules of 2001.

The Design Act covers a design’s esthetic appeal, but it excludes any form of construction, mechanical device, artistic creation, or other element that is solely mechanical or a part of a mode of construction.

A design registration is valid for 10 years from the registration date and may be extended upon request for an additional five years. The priority application’s filing date coincides with the date of registration. However, according to customs, a prior application that was submitted in a nation may also claim priority over a later application.

What are the design registration criteria?

  • The Design Act of 2000 stipulates that a design must not have previously been utilized or published in any country before it is applied or registered.
  • The design must comprise its features, shape, arrangement, pattern, composition, and decoration. It may not be restricted merely by the eye.
  • Moreover, the process or method of creation and application is not relevant.
  • There should be no artistic works, domain marks, or brandings belonging to other companies in the design.

Your design and the other designs that have previously been registered differ significantly, yet if it violates even one of the aforementioned requirements, it cannot be registered.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Any person, legal representative, or assignee may submit a single application for registration or multiple applications.
  • The term “person” is used synonymously with forms of partnerships, smaller entities, and other corporate bodies.
  • A representative or an agent must apply for a designed registration if the applicant is a nonresident Indian (NRI).

Benefits of Having Design Registration

We now discuss some advantages of registering a design under the Designs Act of 2000.

  • Legal protection against design copies: Businesses can prevent others from exploiting their designs to create, market, or distribute items by registering their designs.
  • Longer validity: A certificate of design registration is good for 10 years. After this time has gone, the validity may be prolonged for a maximum of an additional five years.
  • Provides a distinguishing advantage: An advantage for a business owner is the design registration. With a registered design, a company’s products acquire a distinctive character and appearance from those of its rivals.
  • Maintains originality: Because the goods with registered designs are exclusive, they have never been utilized or published in India or another World Trade Organization (WTO) member state.
  • Getting client reaction: The fact that a design is solely assessed visually and appeals to the general audience is another significant advantage of registration.
  • Promotes innovation: Since uniqueness is one of the main prerequisites for registering a design, the product needs to be enticing and sufficiently distinctive from competitors to encourage innovation and healthy competition.

The law that regulates design registration

The Designs Act of 2000 controls the incorporation and protection of industrial designs generally in India. On May 11, 2001, the previous Act of 1911 was modified and replaced with the Design Act 2000.

The Designs (Amendment) Rules of 2008 and the Designs (Amendment) Rules of 2014 further revised the Design Rules of 2001.

Types of Design Registration Applications

Two categories of design applications exist:

  • Common application
  • A regular application that cannot assert priority

Reciprocity request

Priority is claimed over an application previously submitted in a convention country by a reciprocity application. Within six months of the date the application was submitted in the convention nation, the application must be submitted in India. Keep in mind that the 6 months cannot be extended.

The Designs Act, 2000

The Designs Act, 2000 in India protects a product’s design. However, a design must meet specific requirements to be eligible for this act’s protection. According to the statute, a design is qualified for protection if:

  1. It has not been registered or published before or does not resemble a design that has been registered or published before.
  2. The design has commercial use and can be applied to an article or object through an industrial process.
  3. It has only esthetic functionality, which can be measured and judged solely by the eye alone.
  4. Does not have any mechanical functionality that lends to the primary functionality of the product.
  5. Does not come under the definitions of design under the Trademark Act, Copyright Act, or Section 479 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that defines a property mark.

Because any patent design will contain mechanical functioning that contributes to the product’s principal function and will immediately disqualify under criteria number 4, the Patents Act has not been specifically referenced here.

The collection of documentation required for design registration is clarified by the Design Act, 2000. Making sure that a product’s design has a unique form, arrangement, pattern, line composition, or combination helps the office of the controller general of patents, designs, and trademarks prevent copying.

A design may be registered in accordance with the Act if it has a distinct shape, configuration, pattern, composition of lines, ornament, or specific combination.

Every business has specific requirements when it comes to developing and printing its products. Having the proper supplies and tools is crucial whether you’re producing a single sort of product or have a group of designers working on various projects.

What documents are required for a design registration?

The following documents must be presented for design registration:

  • A duly well-certified copy of the original or certified extracts from all disclaimers
  • All affidavits
  • All declarations
  • Any other public documents may be made available on payment of a fee

You must submit the affidavit in the proper format. The controller regulates the costs associated with the design registration process

  • A nonjudicial stamp paper of ₹200 and properly signed by the owners or managing partners of the company (form-21 for agents and advocates; otherwise, a general power of attorney must be obtained) is used to register
  • Four copies of the design
  • Photographs, drawings, or tracings of the design have to be submitted
  • The design must be shown on an A4-sized paper with proof of use and priority

The Design (Amendment) Rules, 2014 defined two segments of applicants:

  • Individuals and
  • Nonindividuals

In accordance with their classification, applicants are subject to the various fee systems. The advantage for small businesses is a lower application fee for design registration. The owner of a design certificate has the legal right to forbid others from utilizing the design without his or her consent.

The owner of the design may file a lawsuit for damages against the infringer in the event that a third party utilizes the design without first notifying them. As a result, he or she is entitled to compensation for any design usage rights he or she violates.

What is a registered design in India?

According to the Designs Act of 2000, a registered design is any model, structure, design, pattern, or composition used on any product, whether it is two-dimensional or three-dimensional.

Making good or service eligible for state-specific certification under national consumer protection and marking process is process of obtaining official government approval for it.

It simply means that you must receive its approval before you can start producing and selling your goods. This does not mean you must obtain a licence from every state to market your product.

Designs that can be registered

A design must meet the following six requirements to be registered under the Designs Act:

  1. It must be new or original, not previously published or used in any country
  2. It must relate to the shape, configuration, pattern, or ornamentation that is applied or applies to an article
  3. Design plans, layouts, and manufacturing processes are not eligible for registration under the Act
  4. Designs of artistic nature, such as paintings, sculptures, and the like, that are not produced in bulk by industrial processes are also excluded.
  5. The finished product should be appreciated only by the visual. This implies that the design must be visible on the finished item for which it was intended.
  6. Designers may not apply for open items in the presence of closed ones, as those are normally sold in the closed state.
  7. Anything essentially a mechanical device would not qualify as a design, regardless of its material or purpose. There are no trademarks or copyrights in the design.

Items that cannot be registered as a design

Based on the Design Act, the following items can never be logged in as a registered design.

  • Books, hoodies, government forms, university certificates, sports certificates, daily dates and calendars, holiday greeting cards, atlas and maps, posters, official stamps, sports and academic medals, medals, cinematic cartoons, and other tokens cannot be registered as a design.
  • Anything that has a principle or method of construction
  • Anything mechanical in nature
  • Constructed buildings and superstructures
  • Even unsold parts are sometimes subject to these nonstandard variations in the industry.

Dos and don’ts of Design Registration in India

A design is suitable for registration if it satisfies the prerequisites listed earlier. However, being registered is not the same as being eligible. To ensure that a design is safeguarded and preserved, one must be aware of a few do’s and don’ts before and after registration. Let’s look at it.

1. Do keep a time log with a description during the development of the design

Even though this is not a requirement when requesting a registration certificate, it unquestionably aids in proving clear ownership of the design. Therefore, you have solid proof in the event that your design is contested throughout the registration procedure.

2. Do check the portal for similar designs and consult an intellectual property (IP) expert if you find a similar design

Make sure to conduct a thorough search for comparable designs that may already be registered or may be in the process of registration before deciding to register your design. These are available on the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s online intellectual property portal.

Contact an intellectual property specialist who can examine your case and advise you on the following steps if you discover a design that you believe is similar to yours but are unsure of what to do next.

3. Do register your design if you find it to be unique

Register the design if you believe it to be original and cannot discover any designs that resemble it on the web. Design registration is not required. However, there are several advantages to registering it.

First and foremost, the registration certificate acts as a legal replacement for ownership documentation. You receive sole commercial rights as a result. It raises the design’s market worth. Additionally, it gives the brand’s image more legitimacy.

4. Make sure all parties with access to designs sign confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements.

You will need to give access to your design to several people when you commercialize your license. These could be advertising, dyers, printers, etc. Therefore, if you give someone access to your design, be careful to have them sign a confidentiality and nondisclosure bond promising to keep the design private. This ensures that the legal system can compensate for any financial losses brought on by unintentional design exposure.

5. Make sure the registration document is readily accessible and on public record adjacent to the design.

When sharing a design with the public, make sure to include the registration number from the design’s registration certificate so that people are aware that any copycat or unlawful use of the design will result in legal action and penalties. This is merely a method to prevent anyone from carrying out such actions or from claiming that they are ignorant.

6. Do periodically search the portal for applications with a comparable design to yours

Even after registering the design, you must periodically check the portal to make sure that no one has submitted an application for a design that is similar to yours or may be mistaken for it. The controller is obligated to exercise due diligence to the best of his ability while an application is in progress.

However, the controller’s resources are constrained, and they can only look at so much. In order for all interested parties to view the application and voice their objections if they believe the design shouldn’t be granted a certificate, they post it on the site for a while before giving the certificate.

7. Avoid submitting a design that is similar to one that is already registered.

It is preferable to not submit an application for registration if you discover that a design that is very similar to yours has already been registered and an intellectual property expert believes that the design might not be accepted. Instead, approaching the design’s owner and obtaining a license might be more practical.

The controller will, however, provide the certificate to designs that are similar in general but distinct in some particular ways if you locate more than one similar design that has already been registered. In this case, you can move through with the application. Given that more than one design with a comparable appearance has already been accepted, you are also aware that the likelihood of objections is low.

8. Never claim that a design is registered when it isn’t

In terms of forgery and fraud, saying that your design has been registered without actually possessing a certificate is illegal. A design’s worth is increased by the registration certificate, which also grants it specific authority and privileges that unregistered designs are not entitled to.

Therefore, increasing the value of your design by asserting that it is registered is dishonest and fraudulent. Additionally, anyone can check the Internet intellectual property portal to see if your design is registered.

Making untrue statements like this can damage the value of the design, even though it may be original and one-of-a-kind.

9. Avoid missing a deadline imposed by the authorities concerning application form flaws.

The inspecting officers under the controller will frequently ask for clarifications or may even point out form flaws when submitting a registration application. Before making a report to the controller, the officer must conduct exhaustive due diligence.

So, with a deadline, he or she will issue a request for clarification or the correction of errors. The form will be automatically labelled as “abandoned”, and the application request will be terminated if no response is received before the deadline. This implies that the procedure must be restarted from scratch, incurring new costs.

10. After 10 years, don’t forget to renew your registration

A design’s registration certificate is valid for 10 years under the act. The certificate will be reissued for five more years if the owner applies for an extension and wants to extend beyond the standard 10-year period.

Although 10 years is normally plenty to commercially exploit a concept, it wouldn’t hurt to prolong it by five years so you can keep the sole right to sell or license the design.

11. Never engage in financial transactions without first obtaining a value certificate.

One type of intangible asset is intellectual property. To evaluate an item, one must first determine its basic salvage value, which is its value as scrap or as the stuff it is made of. After that, we factor in economic factors like supply and demand to determine the product’s market worth.

Intangible assets cannot be valued in the market using the conventional methods since they have no salvage value. However, the importance of intellectual property to a company’s performance cannot be understated, and doing so would not offer a true picture of the company’s balance sheet.

As a result, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has established procedures for determining the financial value of intellectual property. Given that a registered design has increased financial value, wait to enter any financial transactions until the asset’s value has been established.

12. Registration numbers for designs

After 1883, a mechanism for allocating a unique number to registered designs was introduced. This one replaced the earlier “Diamond” registrations. When employed, such Registered numbers (Rd No….) provide an exact date for the initial production of a design.

These designs may then be produced in large quantities for as long they are required or in style; therefore, dates given by numerals merely indicate the oldest possible date of production for an object. Many of the statistics would have only been utilized for a short period and so do provide a useful reference because design advancements have always been a driving force in industrial civilizations.
These rough estimates of the first numbers issued each year might be used to estimate the start year of manufacture.

Given that it is currently unclear how much intellectual property contributes to business income, it is a relatively new topic, and new provisions are added every year. Our discussion thus far shows that a “design” is the intellectual property of a person or a company. We hope that readers interested in patenting their designs based on the protocols discussed in this blog will find this blog helpful.


Kanakkupillai is your reliable partner for every step of your business journey in India. We offer reasonable and expert assistance to ensure legal compliance, covering business registration, tax compliance, accounting and bookkeeping, and intellectual property protection. Let us help you navigate the complex legal and regulatory requirements so you can focus on growing your business. Contact us today to learn more.