Since your design registration photos should represent your "final" product as closely as possible, it is best to file a design using photos of your first batch of manufactured products. We suggest filing your design registration just before your first sale. Do not file a design registration before tooling (as the design is likely to be modified during this phase).
In the meantime, get the toolmaker, manufacturer and packer to sign a NDA. We strongly recommend using the watertight Iptica SuperNDA - a confidentiality agreement drafted by a Patent Law Firm that specialises in technology contracts.
As long as your product looks different to existing products, you can protect the shape of your product by a design registration.
Whereas, an inventor would typically conduct a patent search before filing a patent, design searches are seldom conducted, as:
As long as your design application forms are in order, your design registration will be accepted
After filing a design registration, you may mark your product:
After acceptance of your design has been published in the Designs Journal, you may change this marking to:
We suggest also including the design number.
Design registration numbers looks very much like patent registration numbers. A patented product may be marked "Reg. no. ZA2018/01857", whereas a design registered product may be marked "Reg. no. ZAA2018/01857".
If you have not claimed a release or priority date, maintain your design secret until we send you a design registration number by email (which you can expect to receive within a business day of filing the design registration). Thereafter, you may freely disclose your product / display it on a website / sell the product.
You need not delay commercialization of your product until the design registration is accepted / published / granted.
You may still file a South African design registration within 6 months of first publicly disclosing / selling your product. However, you will need to add a "Release Date" (being the date of first public disclosure) when completing the Iptica design application form.
The term of the design registration and renewal dates are calculated from this release date (if claimed).
To preserve your right to extend your design protection to other countries, it is best to file a South African design before publicly disclosing your product. Claiming a release date in your South African design will prevent you from extending your design to most foreign countries (apart from Europe, the US and Canada).
Within 6 months of filing your first design, you may file corresponding design applications in 176 foreign countries. However, Europe, the US and Canada permit design registrations to be filed within 12 months of first public release.
Contact us for a quote to file foreign design registrations. We like ARIPO designs ‐ a single ARIPO design registration covers most English‐speaking African countries (excluding South Africa and Nigeria); and ARIPO does not require the design to be "secret" upon filing.
Yes. Copyright protects the 2D technical drawings of your product. However, copyright law in most countries exclude 3D products from copyright protection when the 3D product is reproduced using an industrial process. To protect 3D products made by an industrial process from being copied, you must file a design registration.
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