Designs involve substantial investment. Registering designs prevents the blatant copying of a design and should often be used with other forms of intellectual property (IP) protection such as patents and trade marks. Although a registered design only safeguards the appearance of an article and offers a limited form of protection, it is beneficial to register. A product may be the subject of both patent and design protection - patents and registered designs should not be viewed as mutually exclusive.
Our designs team has the necessary technical and legal qualifications as well as experience in the preparation, filing, prosecution and renewal of design applications across Africa and the Caribbean.
We also work with local South African-based design owners to assist with their portfolio in other countries.
Important considerations when filing designs in Africa
- Sufficient lead-in time is essential to protect designs across Africa - the prosecution timeframe in each country depends on the type of system, whether examination is involved, resources at each registry and their capacity to handle volumes
- Determine which countries have design laws; are members of the Hague Agreement, are members of the Paris Union and recognise Convention priority claims; design registrability requirements and which countries may be designated in one of the two regional organisations (ARIPO and OAPI)
- Although separate design applications must be filed in each country where design protection is required, some countries allow multiple designs to be covered in one application
- Time periods for filing design applications are shorter than for patents, and corresponding applications in other jurisdictions must be filed within six months of the first priority application having been filed
- There are international agreements, which make it possible to file a single application for registration of a design in a number of countries. The Hague Agreement provides for the registration of industrial designs in multiple jurisdictions by filing a single design application at WIPO in Geneva
contact us for further information.