Difference between Aesthetic & Functional Design Rights

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South African design rights fall into two major categories, that of aesthetic and functional. The difference between aesthetic and functional design rights lies mainly in the purpose. Aesthetic design rights are awarded on the basis of the appearance of an article. It doesn’t matter whether it is aesthetically appealing since it is a relative concept. Rather the unique appearance is used as the basis for awarding the design rights. The functional design rights are awarded on the basis of function of the article – that is the appearance of an article is protected in relation to the function to be performed. An example of functional will be a type of door, while aesthetic will be a type of ring. Read more about Registered Designs.

Process for obtaining a South African Registered Design
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 application is complete, we shall file the design at the South African Design office in Pretoria.

The duration of an Aesthetic design is 15 years.
The duration of a Functional design is 10 years.

In addition, designs are grouped into different classes of technology and a design application may be filed in one or more classes, to provide protection against infringing products falling in the same class. It is important to note that the protection is limited to articles falling in the same class for which the design has been registered. The classes into which designs are classified are set out at the end of this page.