SimranLaw, a well-established law firm in Chandigarh, India, has a team of dedicated legal experts with years of experience handling legal complexities surrounding design infringement. We aim to elucidate what constitutes a design infringement, its legal provisions and procedures, and bring you real-world case laws and judgments that will deepen your understanding of Indian law.
Design Infringement as per Indian Law:
Under Indian law, design infringement occurs when a person forges, reproduces, or imitates a registered design without the consent of the registered design holder. The 2000 Design Act is the watershed legislation that governs the protection of designed products in India. Its primary objective is to safeguard the exclusive rights granted to a creator for his/her original designs which are new and original, and not previously published in any country.
Legal Provisions related to Design Infringement:
The Act under Section 22 provides legal provisions against design infringement. Any breach of this legal provision is punished by levying penalties. A copyright owner can take legal action against the infringer for piracy of a registered design. The punitive provisions involve paying a fine up to INR 50,000 (approx. $670), and for subsequent convictions, the fine can lead up to INR 1 Lakh (approx. $1340) or imprisonment up to 1 year.
Procedure to Handle Design Infringement:
The procedure involves filing a lawsuit in a district court or high court. The copyright owner must present concrete evidence establishing infringement. This includes demonstrating that the offender has applied or attempted to apply the infringed design on any article in Class XIV of third Schedule or imports such an article into India. The alleged infringer has the right to defend by showing either the invalidity of the plaintiff’s registered design or that there is no substantial similarity leading to confusion.
Relevant Case Laws and Judgments:
1. “Smithkline Beecham Plc vs Controller Of Patents & Designs” (2008)
This case highlighted the importance of ensuring design novelty before proceeding with registration. The plaintiff’s design was rejected due to lack of novelty as it was already published in various other countries.
2. “Whirlpool Of India Ltd vs Videocon Industries Ltd” (2007)
The design in question was a washing machine. The defendants contested that the plaintiff’s design was neither new nor original, as per section 4 of the Design Act. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and held that the novelty and originality of a design are to be ascertained from the standpoint of a customer or a person who is familiar with similar designs.
3. “Bayer AG vs Union Of India & Others” (2009)
This case brought recognition to the international exhaustion of rights principle, stating that rights in design are deemed exhausted once marketed by or with the consent of the right holder.
Design infringement is a complex legal matter and requires expertise. At SimranLaw, we utilize our rich legal experience to provide you with efficacious legal solutions. We hope this article contributes to an enhanced understanding of design infringement law in India. Please consult a legal expert for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.