Intellectual Property LAW EXPLAINED
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Introduction to COPYRIGHT VS DESIGN-

This article is wholly related to design patents and copyrights where it will be discussed that when to utilize the copyrights and when to go for the design patent. Basically, copyright and design patents are the two types of ways of law where one can get help to protect his/her creative works.

There are various contrasts among copyright and design patents. Unfortunately, one can typically just depend on one type of intellectual property to secure a specific work. It is thus firstly important to comprehend these distinctions with the aim that one can understand the appropriate kind of insurance he/she needs. Here, it follows:

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a kind of protection or a security that is provided to the owners of the creative and original works. This incorporates literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other innovative works. Material not secured by copyright (or in any case ensured) is accessible for use by anybody without the creator’s assent. A copyright holder can keep others from duplicating, performing, or in any case utilizing the work without their assent.

Also, for copyright protection, one must need to have the work that is original and furthermore, should have some different creativity and effort involved in it. Copyright in India is made available from the moment a work is made. It doesn’t require any enrollment procedure or expenses. Copyright assurance regularly keeps going longer than design insurance. An uncovered examination of the Copyright Act, 1957 (“Copyright Act”) would uncover that copyright remains alive is any unique work that concedes the creator a selective directly over such work.

From the above meaning of copyright, it seems that it is the most absolute way of protecting one’s work but it has certain drawbacks also. It throws light on protecting the maker from others copying his/her work. If there is a copyright infringement, then it is necessary to prove that an alleged infringer has copied his/her original work.

What is the Design Patent/Design Registration?

A design patent is one which is also a kind of legal protection and helps to secure the unique visual qualities of a manufactured item. In other words, a design patent might be conceded if the item has an unmistakable arrangement, particular surface ornamentation, or both. Design patent only protects the appearance of the work which is made and not its function.

According to the Designs Act, 2000, the design is defined as an outside component that is applied to an article and judged exclusively by the eye. Be that as it may, insurance under the Designs Act is made accessible to a proprietor just when the design is allowed registration.

Overlap of copyright and design patent

As already said above that copyright protection in India is made available as soon as the work is created while security under the Designs Act, 2000 is granted to the owner only when the design is allowed registration. Thus, copyright is regularly alluded to as an inherent right and is alluded to as a statutory or a legal right.

An artwork is secured under the Copyright Act 1957. Be that as it may, the second the artwork is applied to any article to give the article an aesthetic intrigue, and once the article is sold in excess of 50 number of units, under Section 15(2) of the Act, the work of art loses its copyright and goes under the domains of the design law.

The same said provision is often used as a safeguard in copyright encroachment suits. Numerous planners, unintentionally, show their manifestations in design weeks, in their boutiques, showrooms, and so on. This establishes showing to the overall population and their manifestations are not qualified for plan assurances.

The same situation arose in the case of Ritika Private Limited v. Biba Apparels Private Limited; in a 2016 Delhi High Court judgment, the litigant had the option to effectively demonstrate that no copyright remains alive in a drawing of a dress in light of the fact that the drawing was applied to make in excess of fifty dresses. Further, given that the structure in the dress was not enlisted by the plaintiff, the court denied the plaintiff from guaranteeing plan encroachment too. The plaintiff was along these lines denied from asserting both copyright and design protection in its unique design of the dress.

In another case of Microfibres Inc v Girdhar & Co&Anr, in 2009, the Delhi High Court held that copyright in its original creative work, such as an art or a painting, for instance, would prevail even if a design made from that painting is put to use to an article in excess of fifty times, in which case just the copyright in the applied design would stop to exist.


Based on the above case laws, it can be concluded that the Courts have, on numerous occasions, propounded that any other interpretation would render the enrollment of a subject matter under the Designs Act as meaningless, thus articulating the significance of maintaining elite protection under the Designs Act separate from the Copyright Act.

This blog is written by Rashi Srivastava, Amity University.

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