Amendments in India Designs Rules, 2021

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The recent amendments to the Designs Rules, 2001, are deemed to be in effect from January 25th, 2021 as notified in the Official Gazette.

The said amendment are designed to streamline the various processes of the industrial designs in India.

The key features of the amendment are:

  • Startups Recognition

The said amendment has recognized a separate category for applicants i.e. startups.

 The various criteria required to claim a startup status are mentioned below:

  1. To fall under the startup criteria, an entity from India must be recognized as a startup by the competent authority under the Startup India initiative lead by the Government of India
  2. In the case of a foreign entity seeking a startup recognition in India, the entity must fulfill the criteria laid down under the Startup India Initiative. Following are the criteria to be full-filled:
  3. The Startup should be incorporated as a private limited company or registered as a partnership firm or a limited liability partnership
  4.  The turnover should be less than INR 100 Crores in any of the previous financial years
  5. An entity shall be considered as a startup up to 10 years from the date of its incorporation
  6. Any entity formed by splitting up or reconstruction of an existing business shall not be considered a “Startup”
  • Reduction of Fees

As per the recent amendment, all natural persons, small entities and startups are brought under the same fee structure. The amendment will boost small entities to file more applications as under the new provision fees for small entities have been reduced by 50%. Hence, the revised fees for filing a new application by a natural persons, small entities and startups is INR 1,000 whereas the fees for other entities is INR 4,000.

  • Address for Service includes email and mobile number

The new amendment is designed to move towards the digital India initiative and to streamline the industrial design filing process with other IP filings. Hence, the amendment now provides that address for services shall include e-mail address and mobile number registered in India, of the agent or the applicant.

  • Fees related to transfer of rights of a design application

As per the latest amendment, in the event of an application processed by a natural person, startup or a small entity is fully or partly transferred to any entity other than those mentioned above, the difference if any, in the scale of fees between the fees charged from the natural person, startup or small entity and the fees applicable to other entity are to be paid by the new applicant along with the request for transfer.

But, in the event a startup or a small entity ceases to be a startup or a small entity after filing an application, due to the lapse of the period during which it is recognized by the competent authority, or its turnover subsequently crosses the financial threshold limit as notified by the competent authority, no such difference in the scale of fees shall be payable to the new applicant.

  • India adopts Locarno classification system

The current amendment has brought India’s design classification system at par with the Locarno Classification. Via the amendment India has adopted the Locarno Classification published by WIPO. Even though the earlier design classification system used by India was not very dissimilar from the Locarno Classification, the current amendment will ride away any discrepancies in future.

  • Changes to costs allowed in proceedings before the Controller

The present amendment has brought a change in the costs allowed in proceedings before the Controller and the revised schedule provides for reduction of costs for natural persons, start-ups, and small entities.

The amendment provides differences in costs which are imposed depending on the type of entity i.e. the natural persons, start-ups, small entities or others.

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