Calcutta HC ruling in GUI design registrability appeal a major step in the right direction
28 April 2023
For Kangan Roda, founding partner at illuminIP in New Delhi, the Calcutta High Court’s observation in UST Global (Singapore) Pte Ltd v. The Controller Of Patents and Designs and Anr is of paramount significance and a major step in the right direction.
“It is a major step in the right direction to encourage international businesses to enter markets like India without hesitation or harboring insecurities regarding their unique intellectual property assets,” Roda said.
UST Global, provider of programming services among others, filed an appeal before the High Court of Calcutta against The Controller Of Patents and Designs. The latter denied UST Global’s application for registration of a design called Touch Screen for a Graphical User Interface (GUI).
The Controller Of Patents and Designs held that the subject design was created merely by software development processing, and not via industrial manufacturing process and that the GUI can be seen only when it’s “ON” and not when it’s “OFF.”
In its appeal, UST Global mentioned, among others, the Locarno Classification where “Screen Displays and Icons” are covered under Classes 14.02 and 14.04.
The High Court of Calcutta ruled that the GUI is indeed registrable for design protection. Among others, the Court cited that the design is applied to the article using industrial process and means.
“In my opinion, staying up-to-date with international standards in IP and technology is crucial in today's globalized world. Innovation is the key driver of economic growth,” said Roda, “and companies that are able to leverage their IP rights to protect and commercialize their innovations are more likely to succeed and enter such marketplaces where provisions of protection of such innovative IP rights are protected.”
According to her, IP rights have become more complex and challenging to enforce due to advancements in technology and the rise of digital platforms. “It is, therefore, important for companies to stay abreast of international developments in IP and technology to remain relevant and competitive,” Roda stressed.
She added that increasing globalization of business has caused IP infringement to become a global problem. Thus, companies operating in different countries must understand the legal frameworks in each jurisdiction to protect their IP rights effectively. “Harmonization of international standards in IP and technology is, therefore, essential to create a level playing field for companies worldwide and to promote innovation and economic growth,” Roda added.
- Espie Angelica A. de Leon