The Controller of Patents, Designs and Trademarks recently through a public notice dated January 2, 2015 brought to the notice of the public that the Design rules have been amended with effect from December 30, 2014.

Apart from revising the forms and the fees, the most important amendment seems to be the introduction of two categories of applicants. So this introduction of additional categories seems to have been done in an effort to bring some kind of uniformity as the same change was introduced in the Patents Amendments Rules 2014 notified in February 2012 and written by us here.

So what are these new categories of applicants?

As with Patents, “Natural person” and “other than natural person(s)” are the two categories that have been introduced. “Other than natural person(s)” has been further divided to include “small entity” and “other than small entity”. To qualify as a “small entity”, the design applicant’s investment in plants and machinery alone should be within Rupees 10 Crores (approx.. USD 1.6 million). So anyone with an investment of less than Rupees 10 Crores are benefitted in terms of money as the fee for anything other than “small entity” is double the amount.

I think this was mainly introduced to promote and encourage the small entities to file more design applications in a bid to promote IPR as a whole in India given that there are think tanks being formed to do so. So the main difference this makes is in the fees payable which I have listed below for some of the stages along with the categories of applicants;

So from the above table, the difference in fee structure can be seen clearly seen and if your entity falls within the category of a small entity, then all you need to do is file the application along with the newly introduced Form 24 and also it is to be kept in mind that for every document that you submit, which requires a fee, you need to enclose this Form 24 which basically is for claiming the status of small entity.

With these new design rules in the New Year, which hopefully acts as a source of encouragement for the public out there, we can only wait and watch if this change brings a change in the number of design applications filed this year on.

This article has been authored by Durga Bhatt, an IP Law practitioner.