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Design Applications in South Africa

Design applications don’t have not be complicated although the various terms and conditions may become confusing. A South African registered design protects the appearance of an article, unlike a patent which protects the underlying invention on which an article is based.

Design Application Process

First and foremost, KEEP THE DESIGN SECRET and do not market it or sell it until a South African registered design has been filed. Contact us to discuss the protection of your design. Should you wish to proceed with registration of a design, we shall, upon receipt of a deposit, prepare the design application including drawings or photos showing the design. The design application will, upon completion, be forwarded to you for approval. When you are satisfied that the design application is complete, we shall file it at the South African Design office in Pretoria.

Only after we confirm that the design application has in fact been filed may you disclose your design. (Note, however, the six month grace period for filing a design application as described above) It usually takes about eight months from the date of filing the application until notification of registration is received from the South African Designs Office.

If foreign registered designs are to be applied for, we should be notified thereof at the outset, but foreign design applications may be filed in a number of countries within six months after the filing of a South African registered design. Such a design application may then claim the priority date of the South African design.

6 Months Grace Period

Unlike a patent for which absolute novelty is required, a design may be registered 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.

Design Application Filing Requirements

  • Power of Attorney.
  • Drawings, photographs or a sample of the design/model.
  • Deed of Assignment.
  • Priority Document.
  • Details of the Applicant:
    • Full names.
    • Physical address.
    • Nationality / country of incorporation.

The filing of a design application is then done at the CIPC which is located in Pretoria. After filing is confirmed, you as the client may disclose the design. It normally takes around eight months for registration to be completed.

Design Applications in Africa

Algeria designs have a duration of 10 years from the filing date which is extendable for a further 9 years. Industrial designs are filed according to the Locarno Classification which provides the classes and subclasses to which the goods incorporating the designs belong. 

Botswana designs have a duration of 5 years from the filing date which is extendable for a further 10 years. Industrial designs are filed under the Hague Agreement which governs the international registration of industrial designs and allows protection in multiple countries or regions with minimal formalities. Botswana is a member of ARIPO which means that patents, designs or trade marks may be registered with the official intellectual property office of Botswana or ARIPO.

Egypt designs have a duration of 10 years from the filing date which is extendable for a further 5 years. Industrial designs are filed under the Hague Agreement which governs the international registration of industrial designs and allows protection in multiple countries or regions with minimal formalities.

Mauritius designs have a duration of 15 years and is NOT a member of the Hague Agreement or the Locarno Classification.

Rwanda designs have a duration of 5 years from the filing date which is extendable for a further 10 years. Industrial designs are filed under the Hague Agreement which governs the international registration of industrial designs and allows protection in multiple countries or regions with minimal formalities.Rwanda is a member of ARIPO which means that patents may be registered with the official intellectual property office of Rwanda or ARIPO.

Seychelles designs have a term of 5 years from date of filing with possible extensions of 10 years and is NOT a member of the Hague Agreement or the Locarno Classification.

Intellectual Property in Africa

Smit & Van Wyk Intellectual Property services spans across the entire African continent. Patent, PCT National Phase applications and Trade Mark filings in most African countries, OAPI and ARIPO.

ARIPO and OAPI
Many African countries form part of ARIPO or OAPI allowing for the filing of only one application to obtain protection in multiple territories. These regional systems reduce the administrative burden of those countries and support a better output of the relevant laws.

Most applications / filings
South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Kenya, Angola, Tanzania, Mauritius, Tunisia, Zambia, Ethiopia.

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