A registered design protects the pattern and/or shape and/or configuration and/or ornamentation of a design as applied to any article.
The South African Designs Act only requires a registered design to be new and either original or not commonplace in the art in question.
On the other hand, the South African Patents Act sets out stringent requirements of novelty and non-obviousness for an invention to be patentable.
For example, whilst a patent may be new it may still be attacked on a number of grounds, one of which is that the invention which is protected by the patent lacks an inventive step.
If such an attack is successful, the patent is invalid.
A registered design in your back pocket in circumstances like these, holds great benefit, since, a registered design need not be inventive – but only original or not commonplace.
Thus, to have a registered design which covers and protects the shape and configuration of the preferred embodiment of your invention functions as added insurance and is recommended if an invention is really important to you.