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Sakshi Sharda
| Updated: 26 May, 2020 | Category: Design Registration

General Powers of Controller of Design in India: A Complete Outlook

Powers of Controller of Design

The Controller under the Design Act, 2000, is the main officer responsible for administering the Design system in India. Under the Design Act, 2000, the General Powers of Controller of Design are specified under various provisions. Along with the Design Act, 2000, the Powers of Controller of Design is also provided under the rules provided under the Design Rules, 2001. The Trademark Act, 1999, provides for the appointment of the Controller of Design, Patent, and Trademarks. The Powers of Controller of Design are kept wide to provide satisfaction to the person applying for Design Registration in India. In this article, we will discuss the complete overview of the General Powers of Controller of Design in India.  

What is meant by a Design under the Design Act, 2000?    

A Design is a physical characteristic of any article that can be of any shape, size, pattern perceivable by the eye and it can be in 2-D or 3-D form. An application of Design to an article can either be done manually or through an industrial process or mechanical process. But a Trademark is not included in a Design (a Trademark serves as a very important connection between the maker or originator of the product and the product so that the consumer can relate between them). The principle or mode of construction is also not included in a Design.

The primary emphasis is upon the visual or graphic appearance of the aesthetic feature of an article. The Registration of a Design binds any ordinary person as well as the government. So, it is always beneficial and helpful to register a design.

The General Powers of Controller of Design are prescribed for the purpose of Registration of Design under the Design Act, 2000[1]. The Controller of Design has the authority to accept or reject the application of Registration of Design.

Who is a Controller under the Design Act, 2000?

A Controller defined under Section 3(1) of the Design Act, 2000, means the Controller General of Designs, Patents, and Trade Marks. The controller can be interpreted as including a reference to any officer discharging the functions of Controller in pursuance of Section 3(3) of the Design Act, 2000.

The Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks is at Mumbai. Under Section 3 of the Trademarks Act, 1999, the Government appoints the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks. The person so appointed under the Trademarks Act, 1999, is appointed as the Controller of Designs for the purposes of the Designs Act, 2000.

The Central Government can also appoint some other officers who can function, under the directions and superintendence of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks. The Controller under the Design Act, 2000, can authorize in writing, from time to time by special or general order. The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks can authorize the Deputy Controllers, Assistant Controllers, and Joint Controllers of Patents & Designs to authorize the functions of Controller General of Design, Patents and Trademarks.

Read our article: Design Infringement in India – Complete Overview

What are the different general Powers of Controller of Design under Design Act, 2000, and the Design Rules, 2001?

The various General Powers of Controller of Design under the Design Act, 2000 and the Design Rules, 2001 are as follows:

Powers of Controller of Design

Powers of a Civil Court

As per Section 32 of the Design Act, 2000, in any proceedings before the Controller under the Design Act, 2000, the Controller has the powers of a civil court for the purpose of:

  • receiving of evidence;
  • administering oaths;
  • administering the attendance of the witnesses;
  • proceedings for convincing the discovery and production of the essential documents;
  • issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses; and 
  • awarding costs, such an award will be executable as a decree of a Civil Court.

Power of Awarding costs

As per Section 32 of the Design Act, 2000, read with Rule 43 of the Design Rules, 2001, in all the civil proceedings before the Controller of Design under the Design Act, 2000, the Controller can award any such costs as he/she considers reasonable, having in regard all the different circumstances of the case. However, Controller of Design cannot award the maximum amount of cost in a civil proceeding to a party, with respect to a matter given in the Fourth Schedule of the Design Act, 2000. The maximum amount of cost should not exceed the mentioned therein in the Fourth Schedule.

Power to seek directions of the Central Government

As per Section 34 of the Design Act, 2000, in a case whenever, the Controller of Design has difficulty or doubt in the administration of any of the provisions provided under the Design Act, 2000, he/she can seek the directions of Central Government in the difficult or doubtful matter.

Powers of Controller of Design to Exercise Discretionary Powers

As per Section 33 of the Design Act, 2000, read with Rule 44 of the Design Rules, 2001, the discretionary power the Controller can exercise is as follows:

  • The Controller should give an opportunity of being heard to the party with at least 10 days’ prior notice, before acting adverse to any party.
  • The Controller of Design should exercise the discretionary powers judiciously with caution and due care and not in an arbitrary manner.
  • Reasons for any adverse decision given by the Controller is required to be recorded in the file by the Controller of Design.

Power of Controller of Design to correct clerical errors

On a request made by a person in Form-14 along with the prescribed fees, as per Section 29 of the  Design Act, 2000, the Controller of Design is required to correct any clerical error in the representation of a Design or in the address or name of the owner or proprietor of any Design, or in any other matter, which has been already entered upon in the Register of Designs at the Design Office.

Powers of Controller of Design to Require Statements

As per Rule 45 of the Design Rules, 2001, the Controller of Design may require the statements concerning whether an agent or applicant desires to be heard or not. The Controller of Design may at any time require the agent or applicant to submit a statement in writing within the prescribed time period, or to attend before him/her and make explanations with regard to such matters as the Controller of Design may require him/her to make.

General Power of Amendment

As per Rule 46 of the Design Rules, 2001, the General Power of Amendment the Controller of Design has is as follows:

  • No special provision is made in the Design Act, 2000, regarding any document for its amendment, can be amended, by the Controller of Design. Any irregularity in procedure of amendment which, in the opinion of the Controller of Design, may be removed without damaging the interest of any person. The procedure of amendment can also be corrected if the Controller of Design thinks fit to do so, and upon such terms as directed by him/her.  
  • The applicant is required to file a petition stating the amendment required for the reasons. The required fee should also be submitted with the petition of the applicant.
  • The Controller of Design while considering amendment petitions of an applicant, can remove only those irregularities which do not damage the interest of the applicant or any other person. 
  • Furthermore, only those amendments for which no special provision is provided in the Design Act, 2000, and which can be made without any damage to the interests of any person are only allowable by the Controller of Design.
  • Generally, a failure to act within the prescribed time period will not be considered as an irregularity, that is capable of being removed.
  • If any amendment is required to be made resulting from certain mistake that is made on part of the Design Office, no fees should be charged.

General Powers of Controller of Design for extension of time

As per the Rule 46 of the Design Act, 2001, the general power for the extension of time with the Controller of Design is as follows:

  • The time period prescribed by the Design Rules, 2001, for taking any proceeding or doing any act, for which there is no special provision is made in the Design Act, 2000, can be extended by the Controller of Design, for a time period which should not exceed 3 months, if he/she thinks fit, and upon such terms and conditions as he/she may direct.
  • The petition filed by the applicant should explain in detail the circumstances that require the extension of the time period and also the reasons supporting such circumstances.
  • Extension of time period should be allowed only in cases where there is no special provision for extension of time is provided in the Design Rules, 2001. When a time limit is specifically prescribed in the Design Act, 2000, itself, no extension of time period can be claimed under this provision.         

What are the other Powers of Controller of Design under Design Act, 2000, and the Design Rules, 2001?

The other Powers of Controller of Design under the Design Act, 2000, and the Design Rules, 2001 are as follows:

  • Under Section 45 of the Design Act, 2000, the Controller of Designs is required to prepare an annual report of the day to day activities of the Designs Wing. The Annual Report prepared by the Controller of Design is placed by the Central Government before both the Houses of the Parliament.

The Annual Report of the Design Wing prepared by the Controller comprises information on the following:

  • A brief about the activities during the year;
  • Design Applications that are filed and registered;
  • The Examination;
  • The Cancellations;
  • The Restoration;
  • The extension of Copyrights;
  • The requests for inspection of the registered designs;
  • The certified copies;
  • The assignments;
  • The various Designs in force;
  • The total revenue.

The Annual Report submitted by the Controller of Design is required to be uploaded on the official website (www.ipindia.nic.in) after the same has been placed before both Houses of the Parliament.

  • As per Section 37 of the Design Act, 2000, the Controller of Design can also take evidence through viva voce, in addition to an affidavit, or can allow the cross-examination of any party on the contents of his/her affidavit.
  • As per Section 9 of the Design Act, 2000, the Controller of Design can furnish one or more copies of the certificate to the proprietor of Design, in case the original certificate is lost by the proprietor.
  • As per Rule 31 of the Design Rules, 2001, the Controller of Design can require such proof of alteration so requested as he/she may think fit before acting on the alteration request.
  • Under Section 17 (1) of the Design Act, 2000, the Controller of Design can require the inspection of Registered Design and also the Register of Designs.
  • As per Rule 39 of the Design Rules, 2001, after hearing both the parties, or if neither of the party’s desires to be heard, then without a hearing, the Controller of Design should decide the application for Rectification of Design and issue a speaking order. The decision of Controller of Design is required to be notified to the parties and should be published in the Official Journal.
  • As per Rule 24 of the Design Rules, 2000, the Controller of Design can pass a speaking order allowing for the Restoration of Design.
  • As per Rule 29 of the Design Rules, 2001, after hearing both the parties, or if neither of the party’s desires to be heard, then without a hearing, the Controller of Design should decide the petition for the Cancellation of Design and issue a speaking order in the same regard. The decision of Controller of Design should be notified to both the parties and should be published in the Official Journal.
  • As per Section 9 of the Design Act, 2000, the Controller of Design upon registration should issue a certificate of registration of Design to the proprietor of the Design.            

Conclusion

The provisions related to the General Powers of Controller of Design are provided under the Design Act, 2000, and the Design Rules, 2001. The Controller of Design is the main person responsible for the administration of the Design system in India. The Controller of Design is responsible for resolving all the issues related to a specific Design for this reason the Powers of controller of Design is kept very wide in India. In India nowadays people are more concerned about preserving their article by having a Registration of a Design for their article. We at Corpbiz have experienced professionals to help you in the process of Registration of Design in India. Our trained professional will assist and guide you throughout the process of Registration of Design. Our professional will ensure the effective and timely completion of your work.    

Read our article: Renewal and Restoration of Design in India

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Sakshi Sharda

Sakshi Sharda has done BBALLB(HONS) and holds a strong knowledge on the matters pertaining to finance and law. From the past one year she is working as a legal advisor and in her leisure time she works on improvising her knowledge. Sakshi is spreading her knowledge by writing for Corpbiz.

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