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Difference Between Trademark and Design Registration

By Mayashree Acharya


Updated on: Apr 21st, 2022


6 min read

Trademark and design are classified as intellectual property. Though a trademark and design may appear similar, there are significant differences between the two. Trademark is the brand or logo associated with the goods or services of a company or individual. Design means the features of a pattern or shape that are applied to a particular article manufactured by an industrial process. 

In India, trademark registration is governed by the Trademarks Act, 1999, whereas the Designs Act, 2000, governs the design registration. Both the trademark and design registration are not mandatory. However, it is better to get a trademark or design registered as registration provides protection against their unauthorised usage from third parties.

Trademark Registration in India

Trademark is a mark, brand or logo that distinguishes a business or company from others. In other words, it is an effective tool that provides protection and branding to the products and services it is associated with. 

Trademark registration means registering a mark that includes the combination of a letter, number, word, phrase, graphics, and sound mark that is proposed or already applied to the products and services of a company or individual. The trademark registration provides legal protection against infringement. The trademark registration also grants the trademark owner the exclusive rights to use, lease or resell the trademark.

Design Registration in India

Design means only the features of a pattern, configuration, shape, ornament or composition of lines or colour or their combination applied to an article manufactured by an industrial process or means that appeals to the eye. The originator, creator or artisan of a design can apply for design registration to protect it from others who may apply the same design to their products without authorised permission.

Design registration protects new or original designs and acts as a unique selling point of an article as it indicates that the article/product stands apart from the competitors. Sometimes, consumers purchase articles not only for their usage but also for their appearance. The design registration grants legal protection to the physical appearance of the product. 

The design registration refers to the pattern, configuration, shape or ornamentation which gives an article a distinctive appearance. However, the design must be new and original to obtain the design registration. 

Trademark Vs Design

The table below provides the differences between trademark and design registration:

MeaningA trademark means a mark that represents the goods or services provided by an entity or an individual. It can be a logo, word, etc. A design refers to only the features of a shape, pattern, or ornamentation applied to an article to have a visual appeal.
InnovationTrademarks can be a brand, logo, word, phrase or even a sound mark that represents a product or service. It does not require any innovation but must be unique.Designs require innovation as they are created or designed by artists or experts. It is not a mere representation, and it needs to have visual appeal to the article for which it is applied.
ProtectionTrademark registration grants protection to the mark representing or symbolising a business. Design registration grants protection to the design of the product. 
PurposeA trademark represents a mark that distinguishes and identifies the source of the goods or services for the consumers.A design is an attractive pattern applied to a product to accentuate the product’s commercial value. 
Governing Law The Trademark Act, 1999 regulates and grants legal protection for a trademark. The Designs Act, 2000 grants legal protection to a design. 
RegistrationTrademark registration is granted to a mark that is capable of being represented graphically and distinguishes the goods or services of one entity from another. Design registration is granted only for the features of configuration, shape, pattern, or ornament applied to an article manufactured by any industrial process or means that appeals to and is judged solely by the eye.
EvaluationThe trademark registration application is evaluated based on the uniqueness and class of the mark.The design registration application is evaluated based on the design’s attractiveness, ingenuity, and originality. 
AuthorityThe Trademarks Registry provides trademark registration.The Patent Office provides the design registration.
RenewalTrademark registration is granted for ten years that can be renewed for another ten years after submitting the trademark renewal fees.Design registration is granted for ten years that can be renewed for five more years.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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Quick Summary

Trademarks and designs are different forms of intellectual property in India governed by different acts. Trademark refers to logos distinguishing goods, while design refers to article visual aspects. Registration isn't compulsory but advisable for protection. Trademark shows brand identity, while design enhances product appearance. A table comparing trademarks and design registration differences is provided.

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