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India has a specific legislation for the scheme of industrial designs which mandates statutory registration as a prerequisite to obtain IP rights in designs. Industries characterised by products having short lifecycle, release colossal number of new designs in the market in short intervals of time. Due to the dynamism of these sectors, registering all the industrial designs, is not practically and commercially feasible. As the present design regime in India, governed by the Designs Act, 2000, only protects the registered designs, it leaves the unregistered ones open to rampant copying and piracy. The European Union and the United Kingdom are two jurisdictions which offer advanced protection to the unregistered designs, which has proved to provide a competitive edge to their industries, by incentivising their design innovation. Against this background, the article seeks to critically analyse the Designs Act, 2000 to locate loopholes under it, in extending protection to the unregistered designs, undertake a comparative analysis of the unregistered design protection in European Union and United Kingdom, and propose suggestions for introduction of unregistered design rights in India. Further, rapid design piracy caused by 3-D printing, mass production techniques and advanced technologies, supports the urgent need to extend an argument for protection of unregistered designs under the Indian Design regime.


Unregistered Designs, Unregistered Design Rights, Community Designs, Short-term products, Designs Act, 2000, EU Regulation, Copyright Act, 1957
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