Intellectual Property

South Africa
Smit & Van Wyk Patent, Trademark & Registered Designs

South Africa Designs

South Africa registered designs are split into two sections. 1. Aesthetic design which protects the appearance of an article, irrespective of the aesthetic value thereof (such as cell phones covers or automobile designs). 2. Functional designs protect 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). The duration of an aesthetic design is 15 years and the duration of a functional design is 10 years. The Locarno Classification is followed when filing a design application.

  • Form D.3 (POA) must be filed in support of the application.
  • Convention applications may be filed within 6 months from the earliest priority date.
  • For non-convention applications a 6 month novelty grace period is provided.
  • A design registration is obtainable for a single embodiment of an article only.
  • Registered design protection in South Africa is grouped into two categories: Part A for designs having aesthetic features and Part F for designs having functional features.
  • NOT subjected to substantive examination
  • The notice of registration usually issues within nine to twelve months from the date of filing in South Africa

A design is registered within three months from the notice of registration.

Types of Designs:

  • Industrial Designs (Aesthetic and Functional designs)

Designs Duration / Renewals:

An Aesthetic design has a term of 15 years from date of filing whereas a Functional design has a term of 10 years from date of filing.

Design Filing Requirements

A South African registered design application comprises the following documents:

  • Application forms which are completed in our office and signed by one of our attorneys;
  • A declaration/power of attorney on a Form D.3, which is to be signed by the applicant or by an authorised official of the applicant;
  • An electronic set of representations;
  • A novelty statement (i.e. “definitive statement”) which we prepare and which is used to interpret the scope of protection afforded by the design registration;
  • An election of which Part(s) of the Register and which class(es) in which the application is to be filed;
  • A brief statement for publication (similar to a patent abstract) not exceeding 150 words, which we prepare;
  • If the South African application is claiming priority under the International Convention, a certified copy of the priority application in the Convention country;
  • An assignment if the applicant is not the author of the design;
  • An assignment of priority rights where applicable.

All documents listed above must be filed within six months of the South African application filing date if extension fines are to be avoided. Assignments (8) and (9) are not essential, unless the Registrar (who has a discretion in the matter) issues an official action calling for them.

Minimum Filing Requirements (Convention Applications):

  • The particulars of the priority application
  • Copy of representation(s)
  • Applicant’s name and address
  • A Selection of Part A or F of the register
  • Class(es) in which the application is to be filed
  • Must be filed within 6 months from priority application

Minimum Filing Requirements (Non-Convention Applications):

  • Copy of representation(s)
  • Applicant’s name and address
  • A Selection of Part A or F of the register
  • Class(es) in which the application is to be filed

South Africa allows a 6-month novelty grace period, in such a case a release date must be entered.

International and Regional Systems

Paris Convention

South Africa is a member of the Paris Convention where each contracting state must grant the same IP protection to nationals of other contracting states, and provides for the right of priority in the case of patents, trademarks and designs. The Paris Convention is an international agreement which helps creators ensure that their intellectual property is protected in other countries. It applies to IP in the widest sense as it covers patents, trademarks and industrial designs to name a few.

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