Copyright in design ceases if article produced more than 50 times: DHC

The Delhi High Court clarified that if a design can be registered under the Designs Act, but however is not registered, then the design will no doubt have a copyright under the Copyright Act till an article is produced more than 50 times by an industrial process by application of the said design.

The Court said, “a drawing/design which is an artistic work under the Copyright Act, as also under the Designs Act, if not registered under the Designs Act, will have protection under the Copyright Act only till the design is used not more than 50 times by an industrial process to produce an article by means of the application of the drawing/design. Once the 51st article is produced by application of drawing/design there will be no copyright under the Copyright Act, 1957 in the drawing/design thereafter in the work which was an artistic work having copyright under the Copyright Act and rights for the said drawings under the Designs Act, 2000 can only exist if the drawing/design is got registered under the Designs Act, 2000 before making of the 51st article from the drawing/design.”

“Section 15(2) makes it clear that the entitlement of a copyright owner in an artistic work/drawing/design is lost once from the drawing/design an article is produced more than 50 times by means of an industrial process. Once the copyright is lost under Section 15 of the Copyright Act, Section 14(c) of the Act cannot be read as to again confer a copyright in an artistic work although the same is lost by virtue of Section 15 of the said Act”, the Court added.

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