Design Rights Vs Design Registration: Key Differences

Design Rights Vs Design Registration: Key Differences

Oct 21, 2022, 9:06:39 AM Opinion

The registration of both a trademark and a design is a distinct and important thing. On the surface, they appear to be the same, but in reality, they are both a form of intellectual property (IPR). You could select the best security for your intellectual property, though, if you were aware of the differences. The logo, term, name, or symbol used to identify your company is legally protected if you apply for a trademark. Design registration, on the other hand, protects the external characteristics of a company's product, such as its appearance, form, or configuration. To learn more about the key distinctions between design registration and trademark registration, scroll down.

Major Points that Differentiate

Based on Legal Protection

Trademark Registration protects intangible assets such as symbol, logo, name, or word that represents a business. The appearance of a Trademark determines its relevancy in terms of the nature of products & services and the business objectives provided by the company. Protection is furnished to protect the Trademark against the Act of Trademark Infringement. The owner of a Trademark can sue the defaulters according to the law in the case of Trademark Infringement. Moreover, the Trademark is required before the process of Trademark Registration.|

A Design Registration focuses on protecting the Design of a specific product. Here, we are not only underlining the appearance of the products; however, we are also highlighting the functionality of the product.


Based on Legal Rights

A Trademark owns some legal rights but, the non-registered Trademark is not left out under the statutory fraternity. To that conclusion, an unregistered Trademark is not denied under legal option and illustration.

A design is also concerned about some legal rights. But such rights are not as effective as a Trademark. In the end, if the definite article deviated from the documentation of the article, some legal action can be taken.

Based on the Definition

A Trademark mainly implies a logo or a mark that represents your business. It is generally found in different forms such as words, names, logos, slogans, etc. This mark helps the user to differentiate a company’s product from the rest of the competition. Trademark Registration in Australia performs as a protective measure for a company’s intangible assets.

A design is a form of a diagrammatic representation of a definite product. To protect the design from infringement, Design Registration is done.

Based on Intention

A Trademark can exist in different forms, such as a name, logo, or work. In the end, it should obey the uniqueness, but it does not seek innovation.

A design serves a particular intention or objective and an application. It is simply a diagrammatic representation. It is prepared by experts. Hence, it should be innovative in nature.

Based on Subjected Act

A registered mark is subjected to the norms prescribed under the Trade Mark Act, of 1999. As per this Act, the mark that can appear in a graphical form and differentiate the products and services of one company from another company is eligible for Trademark Registration.

A registered design is safeguarded as per the norms under the Design Act, of 2000[1]. This Act tells about the protection of pattern, configuration, shape, colours, etc. applied to any article, whether in 2 dimensions or 3 dimensions or both dimensions, through any means whether mechanical or chemical or combined, which in the finished product appeal to and judge exclusively by the eye.


Why the Line that exists b/w Trademark and Design Registration is foggy?

The size and shape of a product, its packaging or colour might be Trademark or Design applied to it. The difference lies with the purpose served by Design and Trademark. While a Design applies to a product to develop its atheistic value, a Trademark is applied to a product to mark its source of origin.

A Trademark may project for customer engagement or advance the commercial appeal of the product also; however, it should act as bonding between the product’s manufacturer and the product. If the features of a product boost the commercial appeal or aesthetic value, it clearly shows the subject matter of design rights. However, if it develops the above attributes within the line of the Act, an overlap between Trademark and Design Registration comes into the frame.

In India, parallel lawful protection can’t be requested accordingly to the present Act (Design Act and Trade Mark Act). This is because the definition of the Design put the Trademark out of the equation. But, it is much debated whether lawful protection on the design right and common law protection on a Trademark can simultaneously exist or not.

As it is clear from the information mentioned above, the rights under the Trademark and Design Registration overlap at times based on the different cases or situations. Hereafter, we suggest you remain extra careful while executing rights under such an overlap area. All the remedies have to be carefully consulted with the concerned experts, and a strong strategy or plan is required to be drafted to curb the uncertainties.


So, this is all about the major differences between Trademark and Design Registration. Understanding the differences between them can assist you in making the right decisions when it comes to the adoption of Intellectual Property protection. The overlap between Trademark and design rights has been argued for a long time.

Being a part of Intellectual Property Rights, this registration seeks to render the same protection, at least from a leisure point of view. While an eye-catching trade dress builds up the product’s association with its origin, an attractively designed product improves the commercial value and artistic appeal.

The line dividing the Trademark and Design Registration is hazy, yet these two intellectual property rights are fundamentally made up of some common qualities and have a tendency to overlap. For a better grasp of this, one should always consult with trademarking lawyers.

Published by Kate Brownell

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