Valuable information for designers

Your Guide to Intellectual Property Rights in South Africa

This guide was revised in January 2008. To request a printed version at no charge, please contact

Designing a new product can be highly exciting, but the designer should recognise that there are many pitfalls involved. What process do you have to follow, can someone take the design that is rightfully yours, what standards regulate your design? All of these questions will be addressed in this publication. Just remember that this is only a guideline - it is always better to discuss legal protection of your design or invention with a intellectual property rights lawyer who will guide you in this regard.

The Berne Copyright Convention covers most countries of the world, including South Africa and lays down basic principles of copyright law that all member countries have to comply with. The discussion that follows focuses on the law in South Africa, but many aspects are also valid in foreign countries, broadly speaking Berne extends your copyrights internationally. However, make a point of consulting an expert!


Intellectual property law information researched and revised by AJS Dunlop, former president, SA Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL)
Standards and design, submitted by Geoff Visser, Standards South Africa, South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)
Acknowledgement of input from the Company and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)
The content of both the online and printed guides is based on credible sources which were accessed in 2008. It should however not be treated as a substitute for professional advice from qualified legal or product development specialists. It is published without responsibility on the part of the SABS Design Institute, which cannot accept any accountability or consequences of anyone acting on the information contained herein.