Category Archives: Designs

Copyright Designs

Dysfunctional Judgments on Functionality and Design Law


A few months ago, when I wrote on a Delhi High Court judgment in the Carlsberg design infringement case, I received a few comments and emails protesting my claim that Indian design law does not penalize designs which also have a functional aspect. The issue of functionality has been a tricky issue in most jurisdictions because design law is supposed to protect only designs that appeal to the eye while functionality is to be protected under patent law. Life is…


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Copyright Designs Overlaps in IP

The Delhi High Court Misses Another Opportunity to Rule on the New Section 52(1)(w) in Context of Engineering Drawings


In a recently delivered judgment, the Delhi High Court was once again faced with a plaintiff seeking an interim injunction restraining a defendant from manufacturing a product on the grounds that it was infringing the plaintiff’s copyright in its engineering drawings. The plaintiff Holland L.P. and its Indian partner, claimed to have invented “automatic twist locks” (ATL), to help secure containers on railcars. The system is used by the Indian Railways which put out a tender for procurement of the…


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Designs

Calcutta High Court Clarifies the Scope of ‘New And Original Design’ and the Responsibility Of Controller In Issuing Orders In Two Recent Decisions


The Calcutta High Court in two recent decisions has clarified some important aspects of the Designs Act, 2000 (“the Act”). Both cases were appeals to the High Court against the orders of the Controller of Designs, under Section 36 the Act. Our previous posts on the law of designs in India are available here. Case No. 1: Controller Must Pass Reasoned Orders In Krishna Plastic Industries vs Controller Of Patents And Designs, the subject matter of the Appeal was an…


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Designs Overlaps in IP Trademark

Passing Off and Design Infringement: The Conflict


A few days ago, I had discussed a Bombay HC Order involving Cello and Modware. Justice Patel had provided relief to Cello on account of Cello successfully establishing, prima facie, both passing off and design infringement. Prashant, after reading the piece, put forth the following query: “If the design of the bottle is acting as an indicator of source, doesn’t it follow that it can be registered as a trademark which means it is incapable of being registered as design because it falls…


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Designs Trademark

Cello v. Modware #Design Infringement #Passing Off


I write to bring you an analysis of a Bombay HC Justice Patel Order that discusses passing off and design infringement in a mind-bogglingly interesting context… two water bottles. While being incredibly clear at times, the Order was equally ambiguous at places. I shall point these “ambiguities” out over the course of this piece and would be incredibly grateful if readers could shed some light. All assertions of law I make in this piece have been sourced from Venkateswaran on…


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Designs

Carlsberg v. Som Distilleries: Beer meets design law in an interesting judgment


In a judgment running into 119 pages, Justice Vipin Sanghi of the Delhi High Court has declined to grant Carlsberg an interim injunction in a composite lawsuit filed for design infringement and passing off against Som Distilleries, the manufacturers of ‘Hunter’ beer. The winning side was represented by Senior Advocate Pratibha Singh, briefed by Kapil Wadhwa. Apart from denying an interim injunction, Justice Sanghi has referred a question of law to the Chief Justice on the grounds that the judgment…


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Designs

In a Welcome Development, Delhi High Court Refuses to Compel Intermediaries to Screen Content Violative of Intellectual Property Laws on an Ex-ante Basis


One issue that has received sustained attention on this Blog has been the determination of the width and amplitude of the responsibility of intermediaries for the removal of content that is violative of intellectual property laws. In this respect, we have covered such diverse issues as the implications of the Viacom versus YouTube decision on intermediary liability see [here and here]; the implications of the Shreya Singal judgment [see here]; the need for the extant legal framework to be overhauled…


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Copyright Designs

Dart Industries Inc. & Ors. v Techno Plast & Ors: Resolving the Copyright-Design Conundrum


The apparent conflict between the Copyright Act and Designs Act has led to much litigation in recent times which we have covered extensively on the blog here, here, here and here. This conflict arises due to the overlaps in both these IP regimes which provide for different terms of protection even though they protect substantially similar works. Very recently, this conundrum has been discussed by Balu here. In this post, we discuss the case of Dart Industries Inc. v Technoplast…


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Copyright Designs

The Narrow Gets Narrower: The Tale of Artistic Works and Exceptions


The conundrum posed by the varying protection accorded by the Designs Act, 2000 and Copyright Act, 1957 for artistic expressions, especially industrial machinery, and the attempts by litigants to strategically make use of this confusing relationship have been well documented on this blog (see for instance, here and here). A recent order passed by the Calcutta High Court brings into limelight yet another relevant player in this plot- S.52 (w) of the Copyright Act. It provides for a fair use…


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Designs Trademark

Its all about the shape – design infringement and passing off


Just like other aspects of civilisation and life, shapes too had humble beginnings. The clean and simple – circles, squares and triangles, the most basic shapes of our planet, laid the foundation for today’s complicated designs and patterns. Also, as we have heard, shapes were used to communicate and as part of a language in early civilisation. While shapes today have evolved and become more numerous and complicated, they are still a language in themselves and are certainly still a…


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