What is a design?

According to Section 2(d) of the Designs Act, 2000, “design” means only the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament or composition of lines or colors applied to any article whether in two dimensional or three dimensional or in both forms, by any industrial process or means, whether manual, mechanical or chemical, separate or combined, which in the finished article appeal to and are judged solely by the eye; but does not include any mode or principle of construction or anything which is in substance a mere mechanical device.
A design is such a shape, pattern, combination of colours or configuration of an article which give to it a certain visual appeal and is in no way essential to the manufacturing or the functioning of the product. Such shapes, patterns etc. are only added to the article to make it visually appealing and in no way adds to the functioning or the working of the said article.
When a particular product article gets recognition because of its distinct design, then getting such design registered would help the manufacturer to own exclusive rights over such design and prevent anyone else from using the same for their products.

What are the essential conditions for a design to get registered?

For a design to get registered, it is required to meet certain conditions which are necessary to be conformed to before such registration can be done. These are:

● Original Design of the Applicant
● Not prior publication in India, either in a prior document or by prior use
● Applied to a particular article
● Must have visual appeal
● Must not be a result of technical specification or inherent to the nature of the
product
● Must be registrable as according to the provisions of the Designs Act, 2000

What are the rights of a registered design holder?

The holder of a registered design is entitled to certain rights over the design. These are:

● The right to exclusive use of the design- The owner of the registered design is the only one allowed to use the design commercially for its products. The owner can assert the exclusive use if such design garners immense recognition for the product. 
Even the government would not be allied to use the design for its ventures or products.
● The right to protect the design from infringement by piracy- The owner can enforce its legal right of ownership and prevent others from copying such design for their products. Any person who infringes the design of another, which is usually done to ride on the goodwill of an already existing reputed product with such design, is liable to a fine of an amount not exceeding twenty-five thousand rupees.

What is the term of a Design Registration and for how many more years can it be renewed?

According to Section 11 of the Designs Act, 2000, a design when registered is given the protection for an initial period of 10 years, which can further be extended by five years upon the renewal of such registration of the design. However, the renewal cannot be done beyond that, making the maximum term of the protection of a design to be 15 years

What is meant by ‘fraudulent and obvious imitation’ of a registered
design?

When an imitation is done of a design, it can be of two kinds, fraudulent or obvious.

An imitation is termed as fraudulent when such imitation is found to have been done with the explicit intention to deceive another person with the knowledge that what is done is in violation of the other person’s rights. In the case of fraudulent imitation, when it is established, even if the imitation is not obvious and totally alike, it would still be treated as infringement of the copyright in the design. Such imitation is done to ride on the goodwill of an already successful product bearing the registered design.

In the case of obvious imitation, even if the imitation is not done with a fraudulent intention, but is so obvious that there seems to be no distinction in the original and the imitated design, then it would be considered as infringement of a registered design. Here, it is necessary that the imitated design is the same as the registered design and that there appears to be no distinction in the eyes of a layman. The imitation must be perceived to be so obvious to the registered design that a common man might not be able to distinguish from the product with the registered design.

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