Durban-based ARKIVIO designs beautifully hand-crafted glass gardens and homeware.

If you are an artist or designer, are you protecting your brand and product? Not sure? DECO speaks to Adams & Adams to get you all the important information you need to know.

South Africa is home to many talented designers whose work is highly regarded both locally and internationally.  It is crucial that artists know their creative rights. Adams & Adams’ focus is to nurture the uniquely imaginative capacity of creatives, protect individualism and provide a solution to the problem of general devaluation and under-appreciation of artistic works.

Local designers cannot underestimate the importance of design protection. Image: A <em>High Thorn</em> chandelier is admired at this years 100% Design Expo.
Local designers cannot underestimate the importance of design protection. Image: A High Thorn chandelier is admired at this years 100% Design Expo.

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ART

Both aesthetic and functional designs can be registered in South Africa.  Functional designs are those with features necessitated by the function of the article.  Aesthetic designs, which are extremely important in creative design, pertain to appearance of the article including shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation.

Articles suitable for aesthetic design protection include furniture, lighting, textiles, door handles etc.
Articles suitable for aesthetic design protection include furniture, lighting, textiles, door handles etc. Image: Exquisite products from Generation Store

In order to ensure your design is protected it must be new.  This means that the design should not have been revealed to the public before filing an application for registered design.  Although novelty (or “newness”) is a requirement before filing an application, the South African Designs Act does allow you to disclose your design before a design application – provided you file a design application within six months of the disclosure.

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. – WIPO

Design protection needs to a part of your creative repertoire and creative course of action. Registered design protection provides protection for the appearance of articles intended to be multiplied in an industrial process. Image: Mungo Designs
Design protection needs to a part of your creative repertoire and creative course of action. Registered design protection provides protection for the appearance of articles intended to be multiplied in an industrial process. Image: Mungo Designs is proudly South African

Designers need to be aware of the process of design protection in foreign countries, however.  Several countries will not enable design protection if it has been disclosed prior to filing, so it’s best to file prior to any public disclosure.

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Image: Robin Spring wallpaper and surface design specialist.

Intellectual property is a vital aspect of your balance sheet, and registering your designs has an important role to play in your financial well-being.  A registered design may be traded like any other asset.  You can sell it, or license it others.  It therefore allows you to prevent others from using, making, importing or selling articles which look the same or similar to yours – safeguarding your professional reputation against copycats. Don’t donate your creative works to others – register your designs!

Images courtesy of Arkivio design and 100% Design Expo 2015. Click here to see what the DECO 100% Design stand consisted of this year.


LogoAs our main sponsor for the 2015 SOLVE New Talent search, Adams & Adams believes in protecting Africa’s inherent creativity, to promote real growth from an economic perspective. This information was compiled by Phil Pla, a partner at Adams and Adams. Have any questions? Call him on 021 4188560.