The Designs Act, 2000: A Fashion Faux Pas

12 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2012

Date Written: December 5, 2012


As reflected in the title, this paper seeks to highlight the deficiency of an industrial law, the Designs Act, 2000, in serving an industry it strives to protect - the fashion apparel industry in India. The trends in the fashion world evolve and change, literally, at the drop of a hat. What is considered chic today may not be in vogue tomorrow. This dynamic environment calls for an effective and efficient IP mechanism to protect and promote design innovation. However, the scheme of the current Designs Act, 2000 fails to create the required incentive for design activity as is stated in the objects and reasons of the Act.

The inefficacy of the law to cater to the fashion apparel industry is reflected in the provisions of the Designs Act, 2000 and the Designs Rules, 2001. This paper attempts to accentuate the infirmities of the legislation as listed below. First and foremost, the fact that a design is not offered protection from its very inception, but only on registration, is a major default in the Act, from the perspective of the fashion industry. Secondly, the procedure prescribed for registration of a design is much tedious and time consuming. Also, this paper explores the possibility of protection of 'fashion design' as an 'artistic work' under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 and the judicial opinion on the same.

This research paper relies on the doctrinal methodology of research. Reliance has primarily been placed on case laws, journals and established commentaries dealing with the subject. Plausible solutions to the inadequacy of the Designs Act, 2000 to foster creation and novelty in the fashion design apparel industry have been suggested herein.

Suggested Citation

Sahny, Poojan, The Designs Act, 2000: A Fashion Faux Pas (December 5, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Poojan Sahny (Contact Author)

Amity Law School ( email )

F-1 Block, Amity University Campus
Sector 125
Noida, ND Uttar Pradesh 201005

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