What is an Industrial Design?

An industrial design is the ornamental aesthetic aspect of a useful article that makes an article attractive and appealing, therefore adding commercial value to the product and increasing marketability. Protection of the design ensures that the person or entity that has registered the design is assured an exclusive right against unauthorized copying or imitation by third parties.

Industrial Design Law and Legislation

ARIPO is empowered to register and administer designs on behalf of the Harare Protocol Contracting States in accordance with the provisions of the Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs. The Harare Protocol was adopted on December 10, 1982 at Harare, Zimbabwe. The protocol entered into force in 1984.

Under the protocol, an applicant for a design can be done by filing only one application, designate any one of the Harare Protocol Contracting States in which that applicant wishes the design to be accorded protection. The protocol requires the filing of the application to be made with any one of the Contracting States or directly with the ARIPO Office.

There are 20 Contracting States, namely; Botswana, Cabo Verde, Kingdom of Eswatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Kingdom of Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


Procedures for Filing of an Industrial Design

Filing an Application

Applications may be filed by the applicant (who can be an inventor or his/her assignee) or by the authorized representative of the applicant (attorney, agent, or legal practitioner) who has the right to represent the applicant before an industrial property office of any of the Harare Protocol contracting states. Representation is mandatory for applicants who are not resident or whose principal place of business is not situated in a contracting state.

To be considered complete and in order, an ARIPO design application must contain the following set of documentation:

  • fully completed request for registration of the design form (Form 28)
  • a reproduction of the industrial designs to be registered
  • a designation of the contracting states in respect of which protection of the industrial design is sought
  • fees payment or an undertaking to pay fees within 21 days

Filing Routes

Applications can be filed directly at ARIPO by:

  • e-filing
  • email
  • in person
  • registered mail
  • courier

An application can also be filed through a contracting state.



ARIPO Online Service

The ARIPO Office has introduced online services to allow applicants, attorneys, agents and other users to conduct their ARIPO business electronically. This facility allows for online filing of industrial property applications, online payment of fees, sending and receiving notification and general tracking of led applications. Click here for the ARIPO ONLINE SERVICE.

The online application comes with 20% reduction of the application fee.