Registered Designs

 Membership of International Conventions:

  • WIPO (from 19 February 1998)

Note: Although Ethiopia is not a member of the Paris Union, priority may still be claimed from a foreign application filed not more than six months previously.

Types of Designs available:

  • Industrial Design

Novelty requirements:

An industrial design must be new. An industrial design is new when the sum total of its essential features is different from that of another design known either in Ethiopia or abroad and has not been disclosed for more than one year before the date of filing of the application for registration or, where appropriate, before the priority date.

Designs are deemed to be identical if their specific features differ only in immaterial details.


“Industrial Design” means any composition of lines or colours or any three dimensional form whether or not associated with lines or colours, provided that such composition or form gives a special appearance to a product of industry or handicraft and can serve as a pattern for a product of industry or handicraft.

An industrial design must be new and possess practical applicability. An industrial design is deemed to possess practical applicability if it is capable of serving as a model for repeated manufacture of products.

A design application may relate to one design incorporated in one product or two or more designs incorporated in products belonging to the same class and sold or used in sets.

An industrial design that is contrary to public order or morality shall not be registered.

Design protection shall not extend to anything in an industrial design which serves solely to obtain a technical result.

Filing Requirements:

  • Power of attorney, legalised (can be late filed within one month)
  • Assignment of design, legalised (can be late filed)
  • Drawings or photographs of the design (required on the day of filing)
  • Certified copy of priority document, if priority is claimed, with verified English translation (can be late filed within three months)
  • Description of the kind of products for which the industrial design is to be used (required on the day
    of filing)

Deferred Publication:

Informal request for deferred publication may be possible.

Substantive Examination:


The Ethiopian Intellectual Property Act does not provide for substantive examination of design applications. The Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO) may only examine the design application to determine whether or not it complies with the definition of a design, the formalities have been complied with and that the application relates to one design. However, the EIPO insist that it is entitled to conduct substantive examination of design applications even though the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Act does not provide for this.

Average Period from Application to Registration:

Twelve to twenty-four months.

Duration and Renewal:

A registered design has a term of five years from the filing date, which is extendible upon payment of extension fees for two further terms of five years. Unusually, in addition to paying the five year extension fees, renewal fees are also due, payable annually from the anniversary of the filing date. Application for renewal must be filed at least ninety days prior to expiry of the term of protection. A grace period is provided in certain circumstances.

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