The Interface between Designs Copyright and Trademark

The Interface between Designs, Copyright and Trademark


The Interface between Designs, Copyright and Trademark – Intellectual property rights are exclusive rights given to artists, businesses, inventors for their artistic works, creation, useful Invention. The main objective of intellectual property law is to encourage the manufacture of various types of intellectual goods. There are four well-known types of Intellectual property rights i.e. Designs, Patent, Copyright, and Trademark. These rights are enforceable by the court.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), there are two categories of Intellectual property –
1) Industrial Property – Industrial Property includes Trademark, Patent, and
Geographical Indications.
2) Copyright – Copyright includes literary works, artistic works, music, films

What is Designs?

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 colours 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.

If the design is not new or original and has already been published in India, then it is prohibited to register. A design will be valid for 10 years from the date of registration and renewal for further period of 5 years. The important objective of the Design Act 2002 is to protect the designs and encourage creator of design by protecting their rights.

What is Trademark?

Trademark defined under Section 2 (zb) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 as, “trade mark means a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others and may include shape of goods, their packaging and combination of
colours.” A mark can include a device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, shape of goods, packaging or combination of colours or any such combinations.

A trademark is one of the types of Intellectual property and it consists of a symbol, word, or sign which identifies a product or service.


  1. Service trademarks
  2. Product trademarks
  3. Collective trademarks
  4. Certification trademarks

What is Copyright?

Copyright gives a bundle of rights to its owner. The Copyright protects literary work, dramatic work, musical works, computer programs, cinematograph films, sound recordings. Copyright gives exclusive rights to its owner to sell, reproduce, or make copies.
In India, the Copyright Act, 1957 governed the copyright law.

The interface between Designs, Copyright and Trademark

In India, The laws which are governing these intellectual property i.e copyright, design, and the trademark made a clear distinction between them. The Trade Marks Act, 1999 is an act to amend the law relating to trademarks. The Copyright Act, 1957 deals with provisions that are to protect the rights of the creator, and The Designs Act, 2000 works for the protection of design.

To better understand the interface between designs, copyright and
trademark, it is important to compare them –

1) Intellectual Property Rights
a) Designs rights that give protection to cutlery, trade dress, motifs, and patterns on fabric/ceramic, etc.
b) Trademark rights are given for name, shape, logo, etc.;
c) The copyright is given for artistic creative works.

2) Duration of Rights
a) Copyright is available for 60 years from the end of the year in which work is made available for the public.
b) The proprietor shall have the copyright of the design for 10 years from the date of registration.
c) The term of protection for a trademark is 10 years from the date of application.

3) Rights of owner
a) In copyright, the owner of the copyright has the right to reproduce or copy the works, distribute or broadcast the works to the public, and lend or rent the work.
b) In design, the owner of the design has the exclusive right to apply a design to the article and to prevent unauthorized use.
c) In Trademark, the owner of the trademark has the exclusive right to use the trademark and to prevent unauthorized use.

4) Governed by
a) Trade Marks- The Trade Marks Act, 1999
b) Copyright – The Copyright Act, 1957
c) Designs – The Designs Act, 2000

Important Case Laws

1) Yahoo!, Inc. vs. Akash Arora & Anr

It is one of the most important case law on IPR in India which is related to the cybersquatting. In this case, the Delhi high court held that the domain name of the product acts similar to a trademark and therefore, a domain name is entitled toequal protection.


This is a case of the interface between a design and copyright. In this case, court clubbed following two cases i.e. MICROFIBERS INC. v. GIRDHAR and MATTEL INC & ORS v. JAYANT AGGARWALLA and decided the issue relating with section 15 (2) and interpreted section 15 (2) of the copyright act. The court said that Design registration belongs to the classes of objects in which it is registered. Explanation of section 15(2) would be to allow enforcement of copyright against a design article. The court suggests a distinction between a work of art and a work of commerce.

ConclusionThe Interface between Designs, Copyright and Trademark

In the last several years, there has been a growing awareness of intellectual property law. Intellectual property law plays a very important role in investment in research and development. Design, copyright and trademark laws protect your rights, your creativity as well as your innovative work.

In this era of technological advancement, there is a need for effective Intellectual property laws. Because of new technology, many people stole the creativity or made duplicate/fake copies and it is very difficult to find which the original one is and which the fake one is. These three intellectual properties are co-related with each other. They are different types of intellectual properties. Intellectual property registration and protection is necessary to protect the invention. In the future, Intellectual property will also make a significant contribution to the development of our country. Many countries abroad have made progress due to Intellectual property. Strict action was taken against those who took illegal right over an Intellectual property and those with Intellectual property rights were

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