Applications for design registrations are filed at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission in Pretoria. Some designs are necessitated by function and others are aesthetic, although it is also possible to register your article for both. In addition, it is important to note that the article will only be protected within the class registered. As such it is recommended that you register your design in all relevant classes for maximum protection.

The two types of designs which can be registered:

  • An aesthetic design
    • New and original
    • Shape, configuration or ornamentation
    • Must be able to be produced by an industrial process
  • A functional design
    • New and not commonplace
    • Shape or configuration is necessitated by the function
    • Must be able to be produced by an industrial process

The process for applying for registration of your design involves a number of steps. You need to make sure you understand and complete each step so that your application can be processed quickly and easily. Registered designs have to be renewed annually before the expiration of the 3rd year, as from the date of lodgment.

Design Protection Duration

Aesthetic design protection is afforded for a period of 15 years
Functional design protection is afforded for a period of 10 years.

Unlike patents, design registration may be applied for up to 6 months after the design has been disclosed or released to the public. However, if another party starts to produce an article during the six month period, which article would have infringed the design had the design been registered, it would not in future be possible to take action against the other party. It is therefore advisable to register a design before disclosure.