Brimful Designs, a textile design studio based in Lahore, Pakistan, is a small entrepreneurial venture operating since 1999. For the past five years, the company has been successfully producing and marketing a designer brand of lawn1 under the label Yahsir Waheed Designer Lawn.
Yahsir Waheed Designer Lawn is a 100% cotton printed lawn product for women’s summer attire and is produced by the company in limited print-run. It is sold in three main cities of the country: Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
In year 2003, the designs of the Spring / Summer Collection of Yahsir Waheed Designer Lawn got copied for the first time on a massive and organized scale. These illegal copies / fake designs were sold under a different label at 1/3rd of the price of the original product. The original designs of Yashir Waheed were being produced on inferior quality material and fake designs. These designs were available at cloth retail shops where salesmen blatantly used printed product catalogues to sell the fake designs.
Brimful Designs, being a small entrepreneurial venture, stands to lose its existence at the hands of these manufacturers producing fake copies of their products. Brimful lost the company’s goodwill. These cheap fake fabrics available in the market created an extreme discontent and agitation among Brimful’s customers, resulting in rapid decline in market share, brand negativity and the loss of product’s novelty appeal.
At that time, in search of protection of their intellectual work, Brimful attended one of the Training Programs entitled, SMEs and Intellectual Property Rights organized by the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA). In this training program, the owners of Brimful Designs raised their case and an Intellectual Property (IP) Expert advised them to seek protection under the Industrial Design Ordinance 2000 and to undertake timely registration of their designs to expedite procedure against design infringers. As per Pakistani laws, textile or other industrial designs are protected under Industrial Designs Ordinance 2000 which provides protection to the owner initially for 10 years that is renewable twice for ten years each thus a total of 30 years protection is available. With regard to registering designs under Copyrights (Amendment) Act 1992, section 12 of the Copyrights Ordinance specifically says that if the design is reproduced mechanically more than 50 times then copyright protection does not hold. Hence, the most appropriate legal title to protect Brimful Designs industrial designs is the Industrial Design Ordinance 2000.
Therefore, Designs of Yashir Waheed Spring/Summer Collection 2004, were registered under the Designs Ordinance 2000. Even though the actual design registration fee is relatively small, Brimful Designs had to engage legal counsel to assist the registration process, which involved substantial monetary expense.
It remains to be seen if the investment in design registrations pays off in the shape of practical steps, if any, against violators. However, Brimful Designs strongly believes that design registration still holds its merit and is the foundation stone to a conscious and concerted effort against violations of these laws.
Prepared by: Aisha Amjad, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA), Ministry of Industries and Production, Government of Pakistan.
1 Lawn is a refined form of pure cotton that is worn in summer.