Salient Features of Design Act 2000

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The Design Act, 2000 replaced the previous legislation, the Design Act of 1911, in order to align Indian design laws with international standards. This enactment aimed to consolidate and amend the law concerning the protection of designs and it came into force on 12th May 2000. Published in the Gazette of India, the Design Act of 2000 is a comprehensive and statutory code that applies nationwide, covering the entirety of India.

The salient features of design Act 2000 are:

Adoption of Locarno Classification

Under the Design Act 2000, India adopted the Locarno classification system for designs. Unlike the previous provisions that classified designs based on materials used, the Locarno classification categorises designs solely based on their subject matter. This shift simplifies the design registration process and ensures a more efficient classification system.

Introduction of “Absolute Novelty”

A significant feature of the Design Act 2000 is the introduction of the concept of “Absolute Novelty.” This provision allows the assessment of novelty based on prior publication of any article, not only within India but also in other countries. Designers can protect their creations from imitation or unauthorised use, even if they have been disclosed in other jurisdictions.

Restoration of Designs

The Act enables the restoration of designs that were absent in the previous enactment. This provision benefits designers who may have inadvertently missed the opportunity to register their designs. Now, they can restore the registration and enjoy the associated rights and protections.

Transfer of Cases to High Courts

The Act empowers district courts to transfer cases to high courts when the validity of a design registration is challenged. This provision ensures that such disputes are resolved in the appropriate judicial forum, streamlining the legal process and facilitating efficient resolution.

Delegation of Powers and Duty of Examiners

The Design Act 2000 addresses the delegation of powers of controllers to other controllers and the duty of examiners. These provisions promote transparency, accountability and efficiency within the design registration process, ensuring an effective intellectual property system.

Enhanced Punishment for Infringement

In terms of enforcement, the Act introduces an increased quantum of punishment for design infringement. This heightened penalty acts as a deterrent against unauthorised copying or imitation of registered designs, safeguarding the interests of designers and promoting respect for intellectual property rights.

Revocation of Secrecy Period

The Act revokes the requirement for maintaining secrecy of a registered design for two years. This change promotes transparency by allowing public access and inspection of registered designs. Anyone can obtain a certified copy of a registered design, fostering an open and accessible design registration system.

Avoidance of Restrictive Conditions

To regulate anti-competitive practices within contractual licenses, the Design Act 2000 includes provisions to avoid certain restrictive conditions. These provisions ensure that licenses do not impose unreasonable restrictions or hinder fair competition, promoting innovation and healthy competition in the marketplace.

Substitution of Applications

The Act addresses the substitution of applications before registering a design. This provision allows designers to correct errors or make necessary amendments to their applications without compromising the validity of their design registration. It provides flexibility and facilitates a smooth and error-free registration process.


The Design Act 2000 encompasses several salient features that enhance intellectual property rights in India. From the adoption of the Locarno classification system to the introduction of “Absolute Novelty” and restoration of designs, the Act demonstrates India’s commitment to promoting creativity, innovation and design protection. By strengthening the legal framework and enforcement mechanisms, the Act aims to create an environment that nurtures and supports designers, contributing to the country’s economic and technological development.

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