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Authored by Padma Akila

On 18th October 2019, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) of the Ministry of Commerce, had, wide a notification, published the draft amendment to Design Rules, 2001, inviting objections and suggestions from the public. In furtherance to the same, the Central Government, vide notification dated 25th January 2021, notified the Designs (Amendment) Rules, 2021 (“New Rules”). Some of the key highlights of the said amendment are as under:-

1. A new definition of the word “Startup”[1] is included under the New Rules under clause (eb) as below:

‘(eb) “startup” means-

‘(a) an entity in India recognised as a startup by the competent authority under Startup India initiative; and

(b) in case of a foreign entity, an entity fulfilling the criteria for turnover and period of incorporation or registration as per Startup India Initiative and submitting declaration to that effect.

Explanation: In calculating the turnover, reference rates of foreign currency of the Reserve Bank of India shall prevail.’

2. In rule 4, under the proviso, e-mail address and mobile number of the applicant or the agent of the applicant is now required to be included in respect of the address for service, while the previous proviso under the old rules required only the email or digital address of the applicant.

3. Rule 5 (2) (e) has been substituted which now says that in case where an application that was originally processed by a natural person and/ or startup and/ or small entity is fully or partly transferred to a person other than a natural person, startup or small entity, then the difference in the scale of fees shall be paid by the new applicant filing the request for transfer.

4. Further an explanation to Rule 5 (2) (e) has been included wherein it has been stated that, no difference in scale of fees shall be payable if a Startup entity, having filed an application for a design, ceases to be a startup or a small entity due to following reasons:

(i) lapse of the period during which it is recognised by the competent authority, or

(ii) its turnover subsequently crosses the financial threshold limit as notified by the competent authority.

5. In rule 10, under sub-rule (1), for registration of designs, articles shall be classified as per current edition of “International Classification for Industrial Designs (Locarno Classification)” published by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

6. Having included the rules for startups, the new rules also inserted a revised fee Schedule for the same, which substitutes the First Schedule in the old rules.

[1] It is pertinent to note that under the Startup India initiative, a startup is one which shall have an annual turnover not exceeding Rs. 100 crores for any of the financial years since its Incorporation.

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