- Obtaining a registered design commences with filing a design application at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC – i.e. the South African patent and trade mark office) in Pretoria. The application is accompanied by formal representations of the design, which may be in the form of photographs or drawings and a statement of features for which design protection is sought (i.e. the combination of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation). The application must also state whether the application is for a functional or aesthetic design.
2. South Africa does not have an examination system for design applications and no official actions will issue on the registrability merits of the design.
3. After a South African registered design application has been filed and once all formal requirements have been met, the application is accepted by the Registrar of Designs, who then issues a Notice of Acceptance. The accepted design application is subsequently published in the South African Patent Journal within a period not exceeding three months from the acceptance date. From the publication date the design is registered in South Africa.
4. Design registrations are territorially limited rights and an applicant’s design rights are ultimately limited to the countries or regions in which design registrations are obtained. There is no such thing as a “world-wide design registration” – ultimately design rights need to be granted by each jurisdiction separately in which the applicant requires protection.
5. Designs have a maximum duration of 15 years for aesthetic designs, and 10 years for functional design, from the filing date of the design application, subject to payment of annual renewal fees from the third year after the application filing date.
Please contact us for advice on how to obtain registered designs in other countries and jurisdictions.