Aesthetic vs Functional Designs

The difference between aesthetic and functional designs are briefly explained below to help you make an informed decision regarding the appropriate section for your specific design. In both cases, a design can only be valid upon registration if there was no information disclosed about it prior to the application filing date. In South Africa, a 6 months grace period applies from the date that information was publicly made known until filing date.

Registered Designs

Aesthetic Designs
When it comes to an aesthetic design, the shape, pattern, ornamentation and configuration of the article must meet the requirements for an aesthetic design. The design is registered based on features that apply to visual appeal whether the features have specific aesthetic value or not. For an aesthetic design the requirement is that it must be original and new.

  1. Shape, configuration or ornamentation
  2. Produce by an industrial process

Functional Designs
When it comes to a functional design, the pattern, shape or configuration is assessed based on the article having the features necessitated by its function. A functional design must not be commonplace in art and it must be new.

  1. Shape or configuration for function
  2. Produce by an industrial process

A Search is not a registration requirement but we recommend anyone to conduct a search before registering a design, to confirm that you have not created something that is similar to someone else’s design.

Design Quote

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