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Ritika Private Limited v. Biba Apparels Private Limited - (High Court of Delhi) (23 Mar 2016)

‘Ritu Kumar’ designs lose copyright battle


Intellectual Property Rights

The Delhi High Court reiterated a ruling that “once a drawing, a sketch or a design is used for creation of dresses, then, once the dresses cross 50 numbers, no copyright can subsist in the drawing and sketch under the Indian Copyright Act”.

The Plaintiff had claimed copyright ownership of designs sold under the ‘Ritu Kumar’ label and had alleged Defendant to have employed former employees of Plaintiff, who possessed relevant trade knowledge, to create prints and garments imitating its copyrighted designs. Instead, the court accepted Defendant’s counter that once copyright in a design was applied to an article by an industrial process more than 50 times, ownership of copyright ceased and the article had to be registered under the Designs Act for continued protection. It also rejected Plaintiff’s arguments that copyright work was excluded from the definition of designs. It opined, Section 15 of the Copyright Act simply required the copyright work be ‘capable of being registered’, whether or not it fell under the definition of the Designs Act was irrelevant.

Relevant : Microfibres Inc. Vs. Girdhar & Co. & Anr. MANU/DE/0647/2009 Section 15 Copyright Act, 1957

Section 2 Designs Act, 2000


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