Industrial designs is a type intellectual property right awarded for the protection of the visual aspects of items which are not made for purely utilitarian reasons. An industrial design rights protect the shape, pattern, colour or combination of patterns and colour which are in three dimensional form. The pattern doesn’t have to be three dimensional as design rights are also awarded to two dimensional products. The Hague Agreement concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs governs the procedures of the registration of design rights internationally.
This means that you can file one application with WIPO or you can go the national route for filing registered designs. The treaty has simplified the whole process making in possible to designate all the countries which you want to include in the protection. The first industrial design rights were awarded in the UK. The rights fall within the sui-generis group of intellectual property rights. Requirements for an registered design to qualify for rights allocation include novelty and individual character. In terms of novelty the design may not be similar to one already made public. In terms of individual character the design must be unique. Registered design rights help to promote creativity ensuring that products can look attractive. The aesthetic character of the item is protected with this group of rights.
Fair competition is encouraged the right to exclude others from usage without approval and financial compensation. In essence then, registered designs help to protect and encourage creativity and are also more affordable than for instance, a patent. Design rights and more specifically industrial types are award to products in the handicraft, electrical, medical and other industries. Contact one of our patent attorneys for more information regarding services related to patent applications, renewals and litigation in South Africa.