27 April 2016

Copyright in sketches for dresses, not registered as design – ‘capable of being registered’ clarified

Delhi High Court has declined to grant injunction against infringement of copyright in drawings and sketches for dresses when the dresses were created more than 50 times using said design which was not registered under Designs Act. Plaintiff’s contention that once copyright artistic work is excluded from the definition of a design under Section 2(d) of the Designs Act, Section 15(2) of the Indian Copyright Act does not come into play, was rejected by the Court in its decision in CS(OS) No.182/2011.

Considering the phrase ‘capable of being registered’ in Section 15(2), it was held that a drawing or a sketch or a design need not necessarily fall within the definition of design under the Designs Act to be covered under Section 15(2) of the Indian Copyright Act. The said phrase was found to mean that there is possibility of a copyrighted sketch or drawing or artistic work being also capable of being registered as a design though excluded from the definition of design. Division Bench decision of the Court in the case of Microfibres Inc. v. Girdhar & Co. was relied by the Court while it distinguished decisions in the cases of Midas Hygiene Industries Pvt. Ltd. and Rajesh Masrani.


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