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Completing the application form

Identifying your product

Use a simple "high‐level" descriptor for your product (e.g. tongs). Do not succumb to "marketing speak" (e.g. Super braai tongs).

Types of design registrations

You can file your design registration as either:

Do not file a functional design for a "spare part".

Note: Aesthetic designs are more popular than functional designs. However, if you are uncertain whether to file an aesthetic or a functional design, file the design registration as both an aesthetic design and a functional design. About 80% of design registrations are filed as both aesthetic and functional designs.

Photos / drawings

You may use either photos or drawings of your product. Most products are best illustrated using photos. For example, Nike files photos for most of its shoe designs.

All the images on this site are of South African design registrations that were granted.

Tip: Take black and white photos against a white background. Colour photos may limit your design rights to the specific colours used.

A minimum of one image is required to file a design registration. But, we suggest you take a set of photos showing the:


Select one or more of the following classes:

  1. foodstuffs;
  2. clothing;
  3. travel goods;
  4. brushware;
  5. textiles;
  6. furnishings;
  7. household goods;
  8. tools and hardware;
  9. packages and containers;
  10. clocks, measuring instruments and signalling instruments;
  11. articles of adornment;
  12. means of transport and hoisting;
  13. equipment for production or distribution of electricity;
  14. recording and communication equipment;
  15. other (unspecified) machines;
  16. photographic apparatus;
  17. musical instruments;
  18. printing and office machinery;
  19. stationery and office equipment, teaching materials;
  20. sales and advertising equipment, signs;
  21. games, toys, tents and sporting goods;
  22. arms, articles for hunting, fishing and pest killing;
  23. fluid distribution equipment, sanitary, heating, ventilation and air‐conditioning equipment, solid fuel;
  24. medical and laboratory equipment;
  25. building units and construction elements;
  26. lighting apparatus;
  27. tobacco and smokers' supplies;
  28. pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, toilet articles and apparatus;
  29. fire and accident prevention and rescue equipment;
  30. articles for the care and handling of animals;
  31. machines and appliances for preparing food or drink;
  32. graphic symbols and logos, surface patterns, ornamentation, GUIs.

If you are uncertain in which class your design falls, err on the side of caution and file the design registration in all potentially relevant classes. The majority of design registrations are filed in more than one class.

Release date (optional)

If you have previously publicly disclosed your design, add a "Release date" within the last 6 months.

However, if all your prior disclosures have been covered by confidentiality undertakings, do not add a "Release Date".

Unlike patents, which must be maintained secret until filing, you may test the market for your product for 6 months before filing a design registration in South Africa. But, we suggest filing a South African design registration before publicly disclosing the product ‐ claiming a "Release Date" may limit the countries in which you may extend your design registration.

The term of the design registration and renewal dates are calculated from this "Release Date" (if claimed).

Priority (optional)

If you filed an earlier design registration with identical photos / drawings within the previous 6 months, your South African design registration may claim the filing date of that earlier design. All you need to do is:

The term of the design registration and renewal dates are calculated from this priority date (if claimed).

Very few South African design registrations filed by South Africans claim priority.

Copyright registration

You need not take further steps to register copyright in your technical drawings, 3D CAD files and artwork of your 3D product. Copyright arises automatically worldwide without registration. However, the design registration (and not copyright) prevents competitors from directly reproducing your 3D product.

3D Copyright Register Design 3D Copyright Register Design 3D Copyright Register Shape 3D Copyright Register Look 3D Copyright Register Product 3D Copyright Register Product Design

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