Theoretical Underpinnings of Copyright and Design Laws: Decisions of the Supreme Court of India

Raza, Aqa


This Paper seeks to examine the theoretical underpinnings, as discovered or constructed by the Supreme Court of India in the last 70 years, as to „why‟ of two distinct copyrights envisaged by The Copyright Act, 1957 and The Designs Act, 2000. An analysis of decisions of the Supreme Court reveals that: (i) in none of the cases validity of either of two copyrights was challenged; (ii) both Labour and Utilitarian Theories, and not any other theory, have been simultaneously used to justify „why‟ of two distinct copyrights; (iii) inherent differences between these theoretical frameworks have been neglected; (iv)deployment of these two theories appear to be more mechanical than reasoned for logic of tangible subject matter has been unhesitatingly extended to intangible subject matter of two copyrights; and (v) judicial ratiocination does not transcend Labour-Utilitarian Framework except in one judicial opinion which highlights the Un-Indian features of Copyright Law but exercises judicial restraints to invoke it. It has been argued once that these theories were invoked, it had been expected that the Court would apply judicial standards to rigorously scrutinize theoretical underpinning of two copyrights from all possible angles. Decisions of the Supreme Court nonetheless provide an insight into theoretical underpinnings of two copyrights.


Labour Theory; The Copyright Act, 1957; Utilitarian Theory; Theoretical Underpinning; Social Planning Theory; Supreme Court of India; Copyright; Design; Intellectual Property; Labour Theory; IP Statutes

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