The Designs office has now made its register electronically available, thus joining the ranks of the Patents E-register, making the database of registered designs available in entirety. The Designs E-register went live on 5 August 2021, and is available here: https://search.ipindia.gov.in/DesignApplicationStatus/DesignEregister/index .
The Designs E-register is a step up from the online database of registered designs, which has been available on the website of the Intellectual Property Office for some time already. The database that was already available contained only cursory and limited information on registered designs. Previously, if a person needed any degree of detailed information regarding a registered design, they had to file a request for inspection of the physical Register of Designs, accompanied with the prescribed fee, to obtain the details.
With the availability of the Designs E-register, such additional information on registered designs is now accessible to any person in a few clicks, without going through the formal and sometimes tedious process of requesting for an inspection of the physical register. The additional information currently available includes the status of the design application (in force/ lapsed) and the address for service. It is also expected that additional details such as renewal of copyright, assignments, and transmissions of registered design will be available once the E-register becomes fully active. This additional information is in line with Section 10 of the Designs Act, 2000 (“the Act”), which provides for maintaining a register of designs which shall include the names and addresses of proprietors of registered designs, notifications of assignments and transmissions of registered designs, and such other matter as may be prescribed. It is useful to note that Section 26 of the Act allows for the inspection of the register by “any person”.
Critcally, however, and unlike the Patents E-register which gives access to the entire file wrapper (i.e., all the documents filed along with the application), the Designs E-register still does not include copies of the documents submitted in connection with the design application. Thus, if, for example, design representation sheets need to be accessed, one would still need to file a request for inspection at the Design Office.
The Designs E-Register is currently available for applications filed on or after 1 April 2009. For inspecting designs, applications for which were filed before this date, a request for inspection will still have to be filed at the Design Office. Over time, it is hoped that the entire register will become digitally available and will be included in the E-Register. Nevertheless, this is a huge step forward for the Indian IP Office, which is taking up the digitisation challenge enthusiastically.