Deciphering India’s Design Law: A Series on Noteworthy Judgments (Part 2)

In the second installment of our series on Design Patents in India, BananaIP Counsels presents an analysis of critical judgments that define the scope and interpretation of design law in the country. These rulings offer clarity for stakeholders and contribute significantly to the evolving legal framework surrounding designs.

The claim for infringement not established:

No Design Infringement of Hipster Alcohol Bottle Design

Alcobrew’s bottles do not prima facie infringe the registered ‘Hipster’ bottle design of Diageo says Delhi Court. While rejecting the interim injunction, the Delhi High Court in this case brought clarity to several principles of design law in India. It pointed out that infringement of a design must be seen from the perspective of an instructed eye, which is aware of prior art. The Court also differentiated between obvious imitation and fraudulent imitation of a design.

Citation: Diageo Brands B.V. and Ors. Vs. Alcobrew Distilleries India Pvt. Ltd. [CS (COMM) 30/2022 and I.A. 725/2022]

Santoor’s softness in every touch advertisement showing Dettol hand wash is not disparaging, says Delhi High Court.

The Delhi High Court recently refused to grant an interim injunction in favour of Reckitt Benckiser with respect a Santoor hand wash advertisement of Wipro. With the objective of conveying that Santoor hand wash makes one’s hands soft because it has sandal that has better moisturizing properties, Wipro’s advertisement displays Dettol hand wash as an example of a hand wash that does not have sandal as an ingredient. After reviewing the advertisement, the Court found that the comparative advertisement was merely claiming that Santoor hand wash makes skin softer because of sandal, but does not in any manner disparage or rubbish Dettol hand wash, which is permissible.

Citation: Reckitt Benckiser (India) Pvt. Limited and Ors. Vs. Wipro Enterprises (P) Limited [CS (COMM) 258/2023]

Registrability of design:

GUI is capable of design registration, says Calcutta High Court.

Recently, the Calcutta High Court remanded an order of the Controller of Designs refusing registration for a Graphical User Interface (GUI). The Court opined in the case that GUI is the result of an industrial process and when applied to an article it can be registered. It also pointed out that Classes 14.02 and 14.04 of the Locarno Classification provide for the registration of display screens and interfaces, and that Class 32 introduced through 2021 Rules includes graphical icons and symbols. After citing some foreign cases, the Court asked the Controller to consider the fact that the Design received registration in the US and Europe.

Citation: UST Global (Singapore) Pte Ltd. Vs. The Controller of Patents and Designs and Ors [AID No. 2 of 2019]

Design Patents in India continue to be an area of intense legal scrutiny and development. The judgments discussed provide essential guidance to practitioners, businesses, and stakeholders alike. BananaIP Counsels remains committed to offering timely insights into the ever-evolving landscape of intellectual property laws in India. Stay tuned for further updates in our continuing series.

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Design Patent Cases – Part 1