How to Register Designs in South Africa

Published Date: November 4, 2020

South Africa abounds with talented people, and amongst these are designers. With our unique variety of cultures, South African designers are highly regarded both locally and internationally and many of them have exhibited and sold their products abroad.

Design is a broad concept that may be applied in various ways. It can be applied to everything from furniture and lighting, kitchenware, textiles, jewellery, product labels, and more. Like with other intellectual property, registered designs are valuable assets. Protecting your original ideas is important to prevent other individuals or companies from claiming the design as their own. The Design Act No. 195 of 1993 dictates the law surrounding design work.

Different Types of Design Registration

Designs can be both functional and aesthetic, or purely one or the other. The period of which the design is protected will depend on the type of design. Registered aesthetic designs are protected for a period of 15 years, while functional designs are protected for 10. Registered designs have to be renewed annually before the expiration of the third year, as from the date of filing.

Design Registration Attorneys

Intellectual property attorneys can assist in the entire design registration process. The filing and prosecution of registered design applications, and the enforcement of design rights, are handled by our IP attorneys.

More of these functions include:

  • Preparing, filing, and prosecuting design applications: determining the registrability of designs and overseeing the registration and prosecution process.
  • Design transfers: overseeing the process of the design transfer, as well as drafting design transfer agreements.
  • Drafting of licences: where you would determine the terms of use for third parties regarding your work. It would also provide clear guidelines of where your work will be used, and how the use of your work will be reciprocated.
  • Renewal of design registrations: maintaining your design registration to ensure it is constantly protected.
  • Revocation of design registrations: where you wish to challenge of another party’s design registration.
  • Amendments to design registrations: should something change, these changes may be implemented according to procedure.

Adams and Adams’ Intellectual Property attorneys provide clients with a full range of legal services relating to the acquisition, enforcement, and commercialisation of intellectual property rights.

These services include counsel and handling of transactions in cases involving patents, copyrights, trade marks, designs, licensing, and data security. The partners and associates in our Intellectual Property Group also litigate these issues in courts across Africa. For more information on design registration and other intellectual property services, contact one of our expert attorneys.

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