Design infringement, a recurrent issue in the arena of intellectual property law, is a critical subject that demands attention and a fair understanding. The legal fraternity at SimranLaw, one of the leading law firms based in Chandigarh, India, deconstructs the complex legal aspects of design infringement and the remedies for the same in India.
In India, the concept of design infringement extends to any unauthorised use of designs registered under the Design Act 2000. This Act extends exclusive rights to the registered proprietor to apply the design and earn commercial profits out of it. Section 22 of this Act primarily deals with piracy of registered designs and sets provisions for enforcement.
SimranLaw experts interpret the Section 22(1) as – “Any person who applies a design identical or substantially similar to the protected design, without consent from the registered owner, commits piracy.”
1. M/s Castrol India Ltd. vs M/s Gujarat Industrial & Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. – In this case, it was declared that very slight or trivial variations in design are insufficient to bypass design infringement.
2. Whirlpool Of India Ltd vs Videocon Industries Ltd – In this case, Supreme Court held that even if a particular design does not meet the novelty criteria (new and original) under the Design Act, it can still seek protection under Copyrights Act if it is purely artistic.
III. Remedies for Design Infringement:
To counter design infringement, the aggrieved party can seek both civil and criminal remedies in India.
1. Civil Remedies: This includes injunction (prohibiting offender from further infringement), recovery of damages (monetary compensation), accounting of profits (where accused has benefited financially from infringement) and delivery of infringing labels and marks (destruction).
2. Criminal Remedies: Under Section 63 and 68 of Copyright Act 1957, design infringement might lead to imprisonment for a minimum of 6 months and/or fine.
IV. Case Laws:
1. Samsonite Corporation vs Vijay Sales – The Bombay High Court held that the relief of injunction could not be granted as the plaintiff failed to prove that the defendant’s design was copied from theirs.
2. Crocs Inc USA vs Liberty Shoes Ltd – The Delhi High court declared that Crocs’ design was not new or original, thus no relief for design infringement could be granted.
The complexity of design infringement cases demands an in-depth understanding of legal provisions and correct application of these laws. The legal experts at SimranLaw, with their extensive experience in intellectual property rights, are adept in providing strategic advice and solutions to tackle challenges regarding design infringement.
In conclusion, India’s legal framework for design infringement offers robust protection mechanisms. Nevertheless, the outcome of any lawsuit is determined by the unique circumstances of each case, as seen in various precedent-setting cases. The expertise of seasoned lawyers like the team at SimranLaw can help guide organisations and individual proprietors through this complex landscape.