What is Registrable?

In order to be registrable a design must be new and have individual character:


A design is considered to be new if no identical design has been made available to the public before the date of filing of the application for registration or where priority is claimed, the date of priority.

Individual character

The requirement to have "individual character" is met if the overall impression produced by a design on an informed user differs from the overall impression produced on such a user by any earlier design which has been made available to the public. 

Traditionally, protectable designs relate to manufactured products such as the shape of a shoe, the design of an earring or the ornamentation on a teapot.  In the digital world, however, protection is gradually extending in some countries to a number of other products and types of design.  These include electronic desktop icons generated by computer codes, typefaces, the graphic display on computer monitors and mobile telephones, among other things. 

What cannot be registered?

Designs that relate to how a product functions or for parts that in normal use are not visible, or designs that are contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality or which constitute an infringement of a copyright work may not be registered. See The Industrial Designs Act, 2001 for further details.