South African Registered Design vs Patent

A registered design protects the appearance of an article, unlike a patent which protects the invention on which an article is based. Even though the underlying principle of operation may be the same, a new appearance may be protectable by way of a registered design.

In South Africa, the designs register is split into two sections. Firstly, an aesthetic design protects the appearance of an article, irrespective of the aesthetic value thereof (such as cell phones covers or automobile designs). Secondly, a functional design protects the appearance of an article in as far as its appearance is necessitated by the function that the article is to perform (such as a paving stone or aluminium profiling).

A patent is an exclusive right granted by a sovereign state to an inventor in exchange for the details of that invention. The procedure on how to get a patent might vary between countries, but a patent application should always include claims that define the invention. These claims must meet relevant patentability requirements, such as novelty, usefulness, and non-obviousness. Obtaining a patent is a two-step process, but before you start with your application, remember to keep your invention a secret, and also do a Patent search to ensure that you do not infringe on some else’s invention.

 

Registered Design
Patent
Protects the appearance of an article. Protects the invention on which an article is based.
Duration
Aesthetic designs are protected for 15 years.
Functional designs are protected for 10 years.
Duration
Patents are protected for 20 years
(provided that it is renewed annually.)
Renewals
Renewed annually after the third year of registration.
Renewals
Renewed annually after the third year of registration.