Mere ‘Idea In Vacuo’ Not Protected Under Designs Act, Test To Decide If A Shape Or Pattern Constitutes Design Is Visual: Delhi High Court

Nupur Thapliyal

11 July 2023 8:46 AM GMT

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  • Mere ‘Idea In Vacuo’ Not Protected Under Designs Act, Test To Decide If A Shape Or Pattern Constitutes Design Is Visual: Delhi High Court

    The Delhi High Court recently ruled that the Designs Act protects an idea which is to be applied to an article and not a mere “idea in vacuo” and that the test to decide if a shape or pattern applied to an article constitutes a design is ocular or visual.Justice C Hari Shankar observed that an idea, which is not intended for “temporal manifestation”, by application of an...

    The Delhi High Court recently ruled that the Designs Act protects an idea which is to be applied to an article and not a mere “idea in vacuo” and that the test to decide if a shape or pattern applied to an article constitutes a design is ocular or visual.

    Justice C Hari Shankar observed that an idea, which is not intended for “temporal manifestation”, by application of an industrial process cannot be protected under the Designs Act.

    “Thus, when considering whether the features of shape, configuration, etc., when applied to an article, constitute a “design” within the meaning of Section 2(d) of the Designs Act, one has to visualize, in the mind’s eye, the finished article, after the features have been applied to it. If the features, when applied to an article, appeal to the eye, and the eye alone, then the features constitute a “design”,” the court said.

    Justice Shankar further said that the feature of shape, configuration or pattern which is sought to be registered as a design must have its origin in the “originator of the design.”

    “The design is to be judged “solely by the eye”. The test to decide whether a particular application of shape, configuration, pattern, etc. to an article constitutes a design is, therefore, essentially ocular/visual. Judged thus in an ocular/visual manner, the application of the shape, configuration, pattern, etc., to the article must appeal to the eye,” the court said.

    The court made the observations while vacating the ad interim interlocutory injunction granted by the Commercial Court on June 08 last year in favour of Jayson Industries and against Crown Craft (India) Private Limited over the design of a bucket, mug and tub manufactured by both the entities.

    It also dismissed the plaintiff’s prayer for granting an interlocutory injunction in view of Section 22(3) of the Designs Act.

    It was the plaintiff’s case that the design of the defendant’s bucket, mug and tub were obvious and fraudulent imitations of the designs of its products and that the defendant had committed piracy of its registered designs.

    “I am, therefore, prima facie of the opinion that the defendant has succeeded in launching a credible challenge to the suit designs as suffering from lack of novelty and originality vis-à-vis prior published designs both with respect to the ribs along bodies of the suit designs as well as the extensions/flanges on the rim,” the court ruled.

    Title: JAYSON INDUSTRIES AND ANR. v. CROWN CRAFT (INDIA) PVT. LTD.

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 578

    Click Here To Read Order



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