Designs

Designs are about shape and features that appeal to the eye. There are generally two types of designs, namely those are required because of the product’s function and those that are simply aesthetic. If an article has a novel appearance (eg. by virtue of its shape, configuration, ornamentation and/or pattern), protection may be obtained for such an appearance by registering the ‘design’ of the article under the Designs Act No. 195 of 1993. Some articles or certain features of an article may be registrable both under the Patents Act and the Designs Act.

The two types of designs protectable by law:

  1. An aesthetic design
    • Has to be new and original
    • Beauty is in its shape, configuration or ornamentation
    • Must be able to be produced by an industrial process
  2. A functional design
    • Has to be new and not commonplace
    • Where the shape or configuration is necessitated by the function
    • Must be able to be produced by an industrial process

There are a number of steps that one has to follow in order to protect a design, please contact the IP Office for further assistance.