Jewellery and Intellectual Property - A Legal Snapshot
Updated: Sep 3, 2022
Jewellery is quite possibly the most sought-after fashion accessory and has pulled the attention of both genders. Both men and women have reliably brandished jewellery of various forms and figures since the days of yore and the same is presently a synonym of fashion and beauty.
Since recently, the call for fashion and convention jewellery has expanded quickly, much obliged, to some extent, to the capacity to sell jewellery on the web, elevated understanding of jewellery design, for example, CAD and 3D printing, social media, and only again to, old customer trends.
Intellectual Property refers to the intangible type of property which is a creation of human imagination, mind, or ideas for example inventions, paintings, etc... Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, Industrial Designs, and Trade Secrets are among the most popular kinds of Intellectual Property.
The need of protecting jewellery designs arises from a wide array of knockoff jewellery pieces or ‘copies’ of jewellery designs, presently available in the market. Developing demands and expanded needs of different segments of the customers have consistently invigorated "Copycat Designs" or "Knock offs" as the equivalent, in the long run, serves every section of consumers. 'Copycat' designs are the same old thing as the fashion and designing industry. Somewhat recently, with the increment in purchasing limit of individuals, ascend in the way of life, cross line presence, online or web accessibility have hit the rooftop for the consumers, who are consistently in a rat race to possess and show the best trends. The rising interest for "quick fashion" has made knock-offs appealing to the purchaser's insatiable desire.
PROTECTION OF JEWELLERY DESIGNS
Jewellery Designs do not fall within the ambit of Trademark as Trademarks are unique symbols, words, or even symbols that legally distinguish the goods or services offered by an entity from those offered by any other entity of its kind. Jewellery Designs, on the other hand, are not any kind of unique words/ symbols but are works of art. These artistic works are protected by Copyrights.
Copyright is a kind of Intellectual Property through which the original works of artists or literary artists are protected. Paintings, Books, Sound recordings, Musical compositions, Plays, etc… all come under the ambit of Copyright.
While fashion was usually overlooked for copyright protection, Jewellery Designs, rather than other fashion divisions, is qualified for getting copyright protection. Like any remaining creative work, jewellery secures copyright protections quickly upon creation. In any case, most nations accommodate a fair treatment of law for getting the work registered with the government authorities.
Copyright holders of jewellery designs own a heap of exclusive rights in their work, including rights of reproduction, distribution, and the option to make derivative works dependent on the copyrighted work.
Jewellery is copyrighted when it is conveyed or delivered, like some other unique creation. Nonetheless, to make legitimate action according to the legislation and to move against an instance of copyright encroachment, the designs should be authoritatively enrolled with the IP office of the country. Jewellery can be copyrighted as individual pieces, or as collections to limit the managerial work and cost of the process. It takes a few months for the Intellectual Property Office to give the Copyright protection.
Famous brands like Tiffany, Chopard, Fraser & Haws, etc… have profited immensely by copyrighting their Designs and converting their intellectual property into capital.
PROTECTION OF JEWELLERY DESIGN IN INDIA
Copyright Act 1957 and Designs Act, 2000 provide regulations for the protection of Jewellery Designs. These two acts overlap when it comes to the protection of Jewellery Designs. However, according to the Section 15(1) of the Copyright Act, 1957, any design registered under the Designs Act, 2000 is exempted from protection under the Copyright Act. Moreover, the Copyright Act also states that the protection of the copyright stops if the product with the copyrighted design is created more than 50 times.
The Copyright Act protects the sketches of the design or the artwork whereas the Design Act protects the actual appearance and pattern of the product.
DESIGNS ACT, 2000
I) Who is eligible for registering their design? Section 5 of the Designs Act, 2000 talks with regard to the eligibility for registration of Jewellery Designs. According to this section, any person claiming to be the proprietor/ owner of any new or original design can apply for registration of that design.
II) Prerequisites for Protecting Jewellery Designs as an Intellectual Property:
In order for any jewellery designs to be protected, the following requisites must be fulfilled:
1) The design should be original work and should be new. For example, A 20-year-old jewellery design cannot be registered in the present day,
2) The design should not be revealed globally before registering the same,
3) The design should be different than and distinguishable from any other previous known designs,
4) The design should not raise any concerns of the public relating it i.e. should not be scandalous,
5) The features of the design should be easily visible to naked eyes, and
6) The design should not contain any feature that is functional.
Under the Intellectual Property system of India, a reasonable differentiation has been made between rights accessible under the Designs Act, 2000 and the Copyright Act, 1957, to evade any cover in assurance under the two Acts. Nonetheless, attributable to a similarity in the work protectable under these laws, makers, and manufacturers have ordinarily been left to respond to an extremely essential inquiry in regards to the sort of protection which they should gain when an artistic work is delivered.
According to the Designs Act, 2000, the owner of a particular design holds privileges only for a period of 10 years which is extendable by 5 years, unlike in the Copyright Act wherein the designer enjoys copyright protection for his life which is extendable by 60 years.
In the case of Microfibres Inc v. Girdhar & Co.(2006), the Delhi High Court differentiated between the original artwork and the commercial display of such work. It was held that in case of the commercial manifestation of any original artistic work, comes under the purview of the Designs Act, 2000 and hence should be registered under it.
In another case of Pranda Jewellery Pvt. Ltd. v. Aarya 24 kt & Ors. (2015), the Bombay High Court relied on the judgment by the Delhi High Court and further held that an 'artistic work' insofar as it can qualify as an artistic work reproduced in any structure will keep on appreciating the copyright accessible to it under the Copyright Act, 1957. However, when it is utilized as the reason for designing an article by its application by an industrial process or means, which means consequently an article other than the artistic work itself in a few-dimensional structure, it would appreciate a lesser time of protection of copyright under Section 11 of the Designs Act, 2000, whenever enrolled as a plan under that Act, and if not all that enlisted (regardless of being register-able), would stop to appreciate any copyright after in excess of fifty such applications, under Section 15(2) of the Copyright Act, 1957. By and by, as a unique artistic work it would keep on getting a charge out of the full copyright under the Copyright Act, 1957 and can't be reproduced in any a few-dimensional structure by anybody with the exception of the proprietor of the copyright. What it would cease to appreciate is the copyright protection in its modern application for the creation of an article.
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