Designs and Models

– Industrial Designs Act (Cap. 26:02) of 1971, effective April 1, 1972, and Act 40 of 1983 (ARIPO).
– Industrial Designs Regulations 1972.
– The Intellectual Property Tribunal Act 2001, effective September 10, 2010.
– Integrated Circuit Layout-Designs Act (Cap. 26:07) (not yet in force – no regulations published).

Membership in International Conventions

– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since April 18, 1980.
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since December 29, 1981.
– ARIPO, Harare Protocol, since April 25, 1984.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since March 5, 1995.


Applicant: the author or his assignee, whether an individual, firm or company.

Foreign applicants: since June 16, 2002, it has been a requirement that all foreigners must pay official fees in U.S. dollars at the rates prescribed from time to time.

Definition: design means features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation applied to an article by an industrial process or means, being features which in the finished article appeal to and are judged solely by the eye, but does not include a method or principle of construction or features of shape or configuration which are dictated solely by the function which the article to be made in that shape or configuration has to perform.

Not registrable: designs to be applied to the following articles are not registrable under the Act: printed matter primarily of a literary or artistic character, including book-jackets, calendars, certificates, coupons, dressmaking patterns, greetings cards, leaflets, maps, plans, postcards, stamps, trade advertisements, trade forms and cards, transfers and the like, box covers, labels and playing cards.

Novelty: absolute novelty prevails.

Duration: copyright in a registered design subsists for a period of ten years from the date of registration, and may be renewed for a single period of five years.

Marking: not compulsory, but should be marked “Registered Design No.” with a view to recovering damages for infringement.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney, simply signed;
2. 8 identical representations (copies, sketches, drawings or photographs) mounted on strong white paper of international size A4 (297 x 210 mm) or foolscap folio (338 x 208 mm), with a left hand margin of 40 mm. The representations should show the design and contain a designation of the view, but should contain no other matter. Sufficient views to show the true shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation should be furnished;
3. A statement of the features of the design for which novelty is claimed;
4. Priority documents in those cases where Convention claim is made.

For a change of name:
1. Certificate of change of name, with a verified English translation;
2. Power of attorney, simply signed.

For a change of address:
1. Power of attorney, simply signed.


Examination procedure: only as to form.


Opposition: any interested party may give notice of opposition to the registration of a design up to two months from the publication of the acceptance of the application.

Granting: the grant is published in the Patent and Trade Mark Journal. Designs are open to inspection after grant, except in the case of designs applied to: (a) textile articles -secret for three years after registration; and (b) wall-paper and lace -secret for two years after registration. “Secret” designs can be inspected in certain special circumstances. The Registrar can be requested to make a search if he is furnished with sufficient information to enable him to identify the design.

Delivery of document: the registration certificate is issued in paper format.

Modification of Protection after Registration

Refusal of protection after grant: actions for infringement or for restraint of threats are heard in the High Court.

Compulsory licenses: obtainable on the ground of non-working.

Assignments: should be registered.