Demystifying Copyright and Trademarks

    We’re diving into the nuances between copyright and trademarks, focusing on how they operate within the context of India’s intellectual property landscape.

    Importantly, copyright doesn’t safeguard ideas themselves but rather the expression of those ideas. In India, copyright protection is automatic upon creation of the work, lasting for the lifetime. While there’s no mandatory registration requirement, creators may choose to mark their works with the copyright symbol (‘©’) along with the year of creation.

    In contrast to copyright, which protects creative works, registered marks primarily serve to distinguish brands in the marketplace and prevent consumer confusion. During the registration process, India’s Intellectual Property Office evaluates existing marks to avoid potential confusion among consumers. It’s worth noting that while registered marks can be renewed indefinitely, they must remain in continuous use to maintain validity.


    What is a registered design?

    A registered design is a legal right that safeguards the visual appearance of a product or a part of it, such as its packaging. design protection extend to both three-dimensional features such as shape and surface texture and two-dimensional features including patterns and colors.

    It’s important to note that registered designs don’t protect the feel of a material or its functionality.

    Qualifying for protection:

    To be eligible for registered design protection, your design must meet three key criteria:

    1.   New: It must be original and not previously disclosed to the public.
    2.   Original: It cannot be simply a copy of existing designs.
    3.   Non-functional: Its purpose cannot be solely dictated by its technical function or the need to fit another product.

    Benefits of registering your design:

    Registering your design grants you exclusive rights to its use, preventing others from:

    •   Making products that incorporate your design.
    •   Marketing or selling products with your design.
    •    Importing, exporting, or stocking products that infringe on your design.

    Design protection extend to specific product designs to create a similar overall impression to your registered design. You can also mark your product with the “registered design” symbol to potential copying.

    Duration and enforcement in India:

    In India, initial registered design protection lasts for five years, with the option to extend it for up to 25 years. While the design must be new and possess individual character, these criteria are typically only assessed if the registration is challenged.

    If a competitor launches a product that creates the same overall impression as your registered design after your registration date, it constitutes infringement.


    Additional considerations:

    Marketing your design before filing for registration can affect its novelty, impacting its eligibility for protection. It’s advisable to seek professional guidance for trademark attorney in kolkata :

    • Navigating the application process.
    • Understanding enforcement options.
    • Identifying potential infringement.
    • Selecting appropriate product terms.
    • Determining design ownership.
    • Considering options for deferred publication.

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