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THE DESIGNS ACT, 1911

Title : THE DESIGNS ACT, 1911

Year : 1911

[Act, No.2 of 1911]
[1st March, 1911]

PREAMBLE

An Act to amend the law relating to the protection of1[***] Designs.

WHEREAS it is expedient to amend the law relating to the protection of1[***] designs; It is hereby enacted as follows:-

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1. The words "Inventions and" omitted by Act 39 of 1970, section 162 and Schedule (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).

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(1) This Act may he called the1[***] Designs Act, 1911.

2*[(2) Itextends3to the whole of India4[***]].

(3) It shall come into force on the first day of January, 1912.

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1. The words "Indian Patents and" omitted by Act 39 of 1970, section 162 and Schedule (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).

2. Substituted by Act 32 of 1950, section 3 for the former sub-section.

3. This Act has been extended to-

Goa, Daman And Diu with modifications by Regulation 12 of 1962, section 3 and Schedule; and brought into force in Dadra and Nagar Haveli by Regulation 6 of 1963, section 2 and Schedule 1, with modification 9w.e.f. 1-7-1965); and comes into force in Pondicherry with modifications vide Regulation 7 of 1963, section 3 and Schedule 1 (w.e.f. 1-10-1963); Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands vide Regulation 8 of 1965, section 3 and Schedule (w.e.f. 1-10-1967).

4. The words "except the State of Jammu and Kashmir" omitted by Act 62 of 1956, section 2 and Schedule

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In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context:-

1[***]

(2) "Article" means2[***] any article of manufacture and any substance, artificial or natural or partly artificial and partly natural;

3*[(3) "Controller" means the Controller General of Patents. Designs and Trade Marks appointed under sub-section (1) of section 4 of the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 (43 of 1958).;]

(4) "Copyright" means the exclusive right to apply a design to any article in any class in which the design is registered ;

4*[(5)] "Design" means only the features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament applied to any article 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; but does not include any mode or principle of construction or anything which is in substance a mere mechanical device, and does not include any5[trade mark as defined in clause (v) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 (43 of 1958)], or properly mark as defined in section 479 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of I860);]

6[***]

7[7] "High Court" means-

(a) In relation to a State the High Court for that State;
8[(b) in relation to the Union territory of Delhi, the High Court of Delhi;

9[***]

10*[(c) In relation to the Union territory of Arunachal Pradesh or Mizoram, the Gauhati High Court, the High Court of Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura;]

(d) In relation to the Union territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the High Court at Calcutta; and

(e) In relation to the Union territory of11*[Lakshadweep], the High Court of Kerala;]

12*[(ee) In relation to the Union territory of Chandigarh, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana;]

13*[(f) In relation to the Union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Goa, Daman and Diu, the High Court at Bombay;]

(g) In relation to the Union territory of Pondicherry, the High Court at Madras.

14[***]

15[***]

(9) "Legal representative" means a person who in law represents the estate of a deceased person;

15[***]

16*[(12) "Patent office" means the patent office referred to in section 74 of the Patents Act. 1970 (39 of 1970) ;]

(13) "Prescribed" includes prescribed by rules under this Act; and

(14) "Proprietor of a17[new or original] design",-

(a) Where the author of the design, for good consideration, executes the work for some other person, means the person for whom the design is so executed; and

(b) Where any person acquires the design or the right to apply the design to any article, either exclusively of any other person or otherwise means, in the respect and to the extent in and to which the design or right has been so acquired, the person by whom the design or right is so acquired: and

(c) In any other case, means the author of the design; and where the properly in, or the right to apply, the design has devolved from the original proprietor upon any other person, includes that other person.

18[***]

 2A - 19* Rule of construction in application of Act to Part B States [Repealed]

[Rep. by the Part B States (Laws) Act. 1951 (3 of 1951). section 3 and Schedule].


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1. Clause (1) omitted by Act 39 of 1970, section 162 and Schedule (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).

2. The words "(as respects designs)" omitted by Act 39 of 1970, section 162 and Schedule (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).

3. Substituted by Act 39 of 1970, section 162 and Schedule, for Clause (3) (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).

4. Substituted by Act 7 of 1930, section 2 for the former clause.

5. Substituted by Act 39 of 1970, section 162 and Schedule for certain words (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).

6. Clause (6) omitted by Act 39 of 1970, section 162 and Schedule (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).

7. Substituted by The Adaptation of Laws (No. 2) Order, 1956, for clause (7). (w.e.f. 1-11-1956).

8. Substituted by the Punjab reorganization and Delhi High Court (Adaptation of Laws on Union Subjects) Order, 1968 for clause (b) (w.e.f.1-11-1976).

9. Sub-clause (bb) omitted by the State of Himachal Pradesh (Adaptation of Laws on Union Subjects) Order, 1973 (w.e.f. 25-1-1971).

10. Substituted by the North Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) (Adaptation of Laws on Union Subjects) Order, 1974 for sub-clause (c) (w.e.f. 21-11-1972)

11. Substituted by The Locative, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands (Alternation of Name) (Adaptation of Laws) Order, 1974 (w.e.f. 1-11-1972)

12. Clause (ee) Inserted by the Punjab Reorganisation and Delhi High Court (Adaptation of Laws on Union Subjects) Order, 1968

13. Inserted by Act 39 of 1970, section 162 and Schedule (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).

14. Clause (7A) Inserted by Act 32 of 1950. section 4, was omitted by Act 62 of 1956, section 2 and Schedule

15. Clauses (8), (10) omitted by Act 39 of 1970, section 162 and Schedule (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).1919Clauses (8), (10) omitted by Act 39 of 1970, section 162 and Schedule (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).

16. Substituted by Act 39 of 1970, section 162, and Schedule, for the former clause (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).

17. Substituted by Act 7 of 1930, see. 2, for "new and original".

18. Clause (15) Inserted by the A.O. 1950, omitted by Act 32 of 1950, section 4.

19. Inserted by Act 32 of 1950, section 5.

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(1) The Controller may, on the application of any person claiming to be the proprietor of any new or original design not previously published in1*[India], register the design under this Part.

(2) The application must he made in the prescribed form and must he left at the Patent Office in the prescribed manner and must be accompanied by the prescribed fee.

(3) The same design may be registered in more than one class, and, in case of doubt as to the class in which a design ought to be registered, the Controller may decide the question.

(4) The Controller may, if he thinks fit, refuse to register any design presented to him for registration, hut any person aggrieved by any such refusal may appeal to the2*[Central Government].

(5) An application which, owing to any default or neglect on the part of the applicant, has not been completed so as to enable registration to he effected within the prescribed time shall be deemed to be abandoned.

(6) A design when registered shall be registered as on the date of the application for registration.

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1. Substituted by Act 32 of 1950, section 2.

2. Substituted by The A.O. 1937.

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Where a design has been registered in one or more classes of goods, the application of the proprietor of the design to register it in some one or more other classes shall not be refused, nor shall the registration thereof be invalidated-

(a) On the ground of the design not being a1*[new or original design], by reason only that it was so previously registered; or

(b) On the ground of the design having been previously published in2*[India], by reason only that it has been applied to goods of any class in which it was so previously registered :

3*[Provided that such subsequent registration shall not extend the period of copyright in the design beyond that arising from previous registration.]

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1. Substituted by Act 7 of 1930. section 23.

2. Substituted by Act 32 of 1950, section 2.

3. Inserted by Act 7 of 1930, section 23.

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(1) The Controller shall grant a certificate of registration to the proprietor of the design when registered.

(2) The Controller may, in case of loss the original certificate, or in any other case in which he deems it expedient, furnish one or more copies of the certificate.



(1) There shall be kept at the Patent Office a book called the Register of Designs, wherein shall be entered the names and addresses of proprietors or registered designs, notifications of assignments and of transmissions of registered designs, and such other matters as may be prescribed.

(2) The register of designs existing at the commencement of this Act shall be incorporated with and form part of the register of designs under this Act.

(3) The register of designs shall be prima facie evidence of any matters by this Act directed or authorized to be entered therein.



(1) When a design is registered, the registered proprietor of the design shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, have copyright in the design during five years from the date of registration.

(2) If1[***] before the expiration of the said five years application for the ex┬Čtension of the period of copyright is made to the Controller in the prescribed manner, the Controller shall, on payment of the prescribed fee, extend the period of copyright for a second period of five years from the expiration of the original period of five years.

(3) If1[***] before the expiration of such second period of five years application for the extension of the period of copyright is made to the Controller in the prescribed manner, the Controller may, subject to any rules under this Act, on payment of the prescribed fee, extend the period of copyright for a third period of five years from the expiration of the second period of five years.

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1. The words "within the prescribed time" rep. by Act 12 of 1939, section 11.

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(1) Before delivery on sale of any articles 10 which a registered design has been applied, the proprietor shall-

(a) (If exact representations or specimens were not furnished on the application for registration), furnish to the Controller the prescribed number of exact representations or specimens of the design; and, if he fails to do so, the Controller may erase his name from the register, and thereupon the copyright in the design shall cease; and

(b) Cause each such article to be marked with the prescribed mark, or with the prescribed words or figures, denoting that the design is registered; and, if he fails to do so the proprietor shall not be entitled to recover any penalty or damages in respect of any infringement of his copyright in the design unless he shows that he took all proper steps to ensure the marking of the article, or unless he shows that the infringement took place after the person guilty thereof knew or had received notice of the existence of the copyright in the design.

(2) Where a representation is made to the1*[Central Government] by or on behalf of any trade or industry that in the interests of the trade or industry it is expedient to dispense with or modify as regards any class or description of articles any of the requirements of this section as to marking, the1*[Central Government] may, if 1*[i t] thinks fit, by rules under this Act, dispense with or modify such requirements as regards any such class or description of articles to such extent and subject to such conditions as 1*[i t] thinks fit.

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1. Substituted by the A.O. 1937.

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The disclosure of a design by the proprietor to any other person, in such circumstances as would make it contrary to good faith for that other person to use or publish the design, and the disclosure of a design in breach of good faith by any person other than the proprietor of the design, and the acceptance of a first and confidential order for goods bearing a new or original textile design intended for registration, shall not be deemed to be a publication of the design sufficient to invalidate the copyright thereof if registration thereof is obtained subsequently to the disclosure or acceptance.



(1) During the existence of copyright in a design, or such shorter period not being less than two years from the registration of the design as may be prescribed, the design shall not be open to inspection except by the proprietor or a person authorized in writing by him, or a person authorized by the Controller or by the court, and furnishing such information as may enable the Controller to identify the design, and shall not be open to the inspection of any person except in the presence of the Controller, or of an officer acting under him, and on payment of the prescribed fee; and the person making the inspection shall not be entitled to take any copy of the design, or of any part thereof:

Provided that, where registration of a design is refused on the ground of identity with a design already registered, the applicant for registration shall be entitled to inspect the design so registered.

(2) After the expiration of the copyright in a design, or such shorter period as aforesaid, the design shall be open to inspection, and copies thereof may be taken by any person on payment of the prescribed fee.

(3) Different periods may be prescribed under this section for different classes of goods.



On the request of any person furnishing such information as may enable the Controller to identify the design, and on payment of the prescribed fee, the Controller shall inform such person whether the registration still exists in respect of the design, and, if so, in respect of what classes of goods, and shall state the date of registration, and the name and address of the registered proprietor.

51A -1* Cancellation of registration

(1) Any person interested may present a petition for the cancellation of the registration of a design-

(a) At any time after the registration of the design, to the High Court on any of the following grounds, namely :-

(i) That the design has been previously registered in2*[India]; or

(ii) That it has been published in2*[India] prior to the date of registration; or

(iii) That the design is not a new or original design; or

(b) Within one year from the dale of the registration, to the Controller on either of the grounds specified in sub-clauses (i) and (ii) of clause (a).

(2) An appeal shall lie from any order of the Controller under this section to the High Court, and the Controller may at any time refer any such petition to the High Court, and the High Court shall decide any petition so referred.

51B - Designs to bind Government

A registered design shall have to all intents the like effect as against Government as it has against any person and the provisions of Chapter XVII of the Patents Act, 1970 (39 of 1970), shall apply to registered designs as they apply to patents.]]

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1. Sections 51 B Inserted by Act 7 of 1930, section 24.

2. Substituted by Act 32 of 1950, section 2.

3. Substituted by Act 39 of 1970 section 162 and Schedule, for section 51 B (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).

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The exhibition of a design, or of any article to which a design is applied, at an industrial or other exhibition to which the provisions of this section have been extended by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette, or the publication of a description of the design, during the period of the holding of the exhibition, or the exhibition of the design or the article or the publication of a description of the design by any person elsewhere during or after the period of the holding of the exhibition, without the privity or consent of the proprietor, shall not prevent the design from being registered or invalidate the registration thereof

Provided that-

(a) The exhibitor exhibiting the design or article, or publishing a description of the design, gives to the Controller previous notice in the prescribed form; and

(b) The application for registration is made within six months from the date of first exhibiting the design or article or publishing a description of the design.]

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1. Substituted by Act 12 of 1939, section 12, for the original section.

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(1) During the existence of copyright in any design it shall not be lawful for only person-

(a) For the purpose of sale to apply or cause to be applied to any article in any class of goods in which the design is registered, the design or any fraudulent or obvious imitation thereof, except with the licence or written consent of the registered proprietor, or to do anything with a view to enable the design to be so applied; or

1*[(aa) To import for the purposes of sale, without the consent of the registered proprietor, any article belonging to the class in which the design has been registered, and having applied to it the design or any fraudulent or obvious imitation thereof; or]

(b) Knowing that the design or any fraudulent or obvious imitation thereof has been applied to any article1*[in any class of goods in which the design is registered] without the consent of the registered proprietor, to publish or expose or cause to be published or exposed for sale that article.

(2) If any person acts in contravention of this section, he shall be liable for every contravention-

(a) To pay to the registered proprietor of the design a sum not exceeding five hundred rupees recoverable as a contract debt, or

(b) If the proprietor elects to bring a suit for the recovery of damages for any such contravention, and for an injunction against the repetition thereof, to pay such damages as may be awarded and to be restrained by injunction accordingly :

Provided that the total sum recoverable in respect of any one design under clause (a) shall not exceed one thousand rupees.

(3) When the court makes a decree in a suit under sub-section (2) it shall send a copy of the decree to the Controller, who shall cause an entry thereof to be made in the register of designs.

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1. Inserted by Act 12 of 1939, section 13.

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1*[The provisions of the Patents Act, 1970 (39 of 1970)] with regard to certificates of the validity of a patent, and to the remedy in case of groundless threats of legal proceedings by a patentee shall apply in the case of registered designs in like manner as they apply in the case of patents, with the substitution of references to the copyright in a design for references to a patent, and of references to the proprietor of a design for references to the patentee, and of references to the designs for references to the invention.

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1. Substituted by Act 39 of 1970, section 162 and Schedule, for certain word (w.e.f. 20-4-1972).

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Last updated on July, 2016

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