Industrial design, an element of intellectual property, refers to a creative activity which results in the ornamental or formal appearance of a product, whereas, design right refers to novel or original designs that are accorded to the proprietor of a registered design. Designs are used in different products and across various industries like pharmaceutical industry, handicrafts, jewellery, electrical appliances etc. In simpler terms differentiating, an otherwise similar product (substitutes in terms of functionality), on the basis of ‘eye appeal’ can be done by industrial designs
In present scenario, the Designs Act, 2000 and the Designs Rules, 2001 govern the Indian design laws and serve their purpose appropriately amidst the fast paced changes in technical and commercial scenario developments. The essential purpose of design law is to promote and protect the design element of industrial production. It also intends to promote innovative activity in the field of industries.
A person who claims to be the “proprietor of any new or original design” not previously published in any country and is not contrary to public order or morality can apply for the registration of the design. The industrial design registration grants the proprietor exclusive rights to sell, import and apply it to any product. India has adopted the 'first to file' system, which means that the right holder should file the application at the earliest to rule out the possibility of any other person claiming for the rights of the intended designs.
Paintings, Sculptures, Drawings (including diagrams, maps, charts or plans), an engraving or photographs, whether or not any such work possess artistic quality, works of architecture etc. are some examples of artistic works which cannot be registered as industrial designs. In case of the piracy of the registered designs, the person who infringes the design would be held liable for the fine that may amount not less than Rs.25,000 and maximum of Rs.50,000.