In India, the filing, prosecution, registration and protection of industrial designs is governed by the Designs Act, 2000 and the corresponding Design Rules, 2001.
A person/ entity desirous of registering a design in India was earlier required to submit the requisite physical Forms and documents with the Design Wing of the Patent Office in Kolkata, in addition to electronic filing.
However, in a welcome change, as per Public Notice issued on December 16, 2022, by the Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trademarks, Mumbai, the obligation of submission of physical paper documents and Forms (except assignment, attested/ notarised copy of the original Power of Attorney and original affidavit (if any) for e-filed applications) has been done away with. Following the footsteps of the Patent Office, the Design Wing is also now actively encouraging applicants to utilize the online portal for the submission of necessary documents and Forms.
It goes without saying that filing of documents via the electronic medium is not only efficient and minimizes the wait time typically associated with conventional mailing but also ensures that all four Patent and Design Offices located in different cities of India viz., Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, stand on the same equal footing with respect to design applications. Thus, electronic filing of design applications without the mandatory requirement of following up with the submission of physical documents makes sure that no unfair advantage, in terms of quicker filing of physical documents, is yielded to those applicants/ patent agents/ legal practitioners who have closer proximity to the Design Wing of the Kolkata Patent Office. It makes the earlier tedious and long procedure much faster, simpler and user-friendly and makes certain that the hold-ups accompanied by the manual filing of design applications are avoided.
Needless to say, the above-stated positive and long-awaited step taken by the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks in doing away with the essential submission of physical documents after the electronic filing of design documents shall ensure that the design applications are filed immediately sans delay, and bestow equal rights and benefits upon all.