IP Registrations: Registered Designs

Design protection extends exclusively to the pattern, shape, ornamentation and/or pattern of a design that is applied to an article.

South Africa offers broader registered design protection than many other countries, in that it recognises two distinct types of design, namely:

  • Functional Designs: as the name implies, functional design registrations are appropriate for cases in which features of a design are necessitated by the function that the article is to offer (this is comparable to the registered industrial designs that are available in many other countries); and
  • Aesthetic Designs: such design protection extends exclusively to the aesthetic appearance of an article to which the design is applied.

It is possible to obtain both functional and aesthetic design registrations in respect of the same design.

The absolute novelty requirement, that is well-known in patent law, is also applied to design law, although with certain very important differences. In addition to the novelty requirement, an aesthetic design is also required to be "original", while a functional design must be new or "not commonplace in the art".

Provided that renewal fees are paid, an aesthetic design has a maximum registration of 15 years, while for a functional design the maximum duration is 10 years.

At Margo® Attorneys, Inc. our service offerings include:
  • the preparation, filing and prosecution of patent, design and trade mark applications, in South Africa and abroad;
  • IP searches: including patent & design novelty searches, and name searches in all disciplines;
  • IP litigation: infringement proceedings, opposition proceedings & responding to objections, passing-off and unlawful competition, and anti-counterfeiting procedures.
  • Commercialisation and preparation of commercial agreements, including licences, franchise agreements and technology transfer & assignment agreements.
  • IP audits; and
  • Cyberlaw and domain name registrations: including the resolution of disputes in this field.

Whatever it is that our clients and associates require: from trade mark applications in the Ukraine, to renewals in Guinea Bissau, to assignments in China: at Margo® Attorneys, Inc., clients acquire best knowledge with above average delivery of service.

This article is intended to be general in nature. It is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute an opinion, and should not be construed as such. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific advice regarding particular scenarios. Margo® Attorneys, Inc. cannot accept responsibility for the consequences of any person relying on the contents of this document for any other purpose.