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Intellectual Property Law


Intellectual Property (IP) is a term referring to a number of distinct types of creations of the mind, for which a set of exclusive rights is recognized, and the corresponding fields of law. Common types of intellectual property rights include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and, in certain jurisdictions, trade secrets.

e.g. A trade mark is a brand name, a slogan or a logo. It identifies the services or goods of one person and distinguishes them from the goods and services of another.

e.g. A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. The patent provides protection for the owner, which gives him/her the right to exclude others from making, using, exercising, or disposing of the invention, offering to dispose, or importing the invention.

In order to protect Intellectual Property in South Africa, you need to ensure that it is registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission of South Africa.

But what happens if somebody else is infringing on your patent or trade mark rights? Can you sue that person/company? What can you actually do in order to enforce your rights?

Most recent Articles posted

Global authors take aim at controversial copyright Bill

A global network of authors' societies is asking the National Assembly not to adopt the Copyright Amendment Bill. The Bill, which was initially turned down by the President nearly four years ago, is up for reconsideration by the National Assembly this week.


FNB fails trademark bid by UAE’s biggest bank

FirstRand has tried in vain to bar UAE's largest bank by assets – First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) – from applying for a trade name under the FAB banner, failing to convince the court that the trademark application infringes that of its subsidiary, FNB.


Rugby union wins ambush marketing case

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) has won the legal battle to have food company Eskort cease its ambush marketing campaign using the Springboks, reports TimesLIVE.


Distributor gets deadline to reveal source of fake shoes

Carvela shoes have become symbols of style, affluence and street-cred among a fashion-conscious sector in SA.


Provita loses Snactive court challenge

Provita owner National Brands, a subsidiary of AVI, has lost a trademark battle against competitor Snactive after the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) concluded its rights did not extend to its biscuit's characteristics.


FNB fails to block FAB trademark

FirstRand has tried and failed to bar Abu Dhabi’s leading banks from using the FAB trademark, which it says resembles that of its FNB subsidiary.


ConCourt upholds ARB's Colgate brand ruling

Colgate-Palmolive SA has won its long-running battle with Bliss Brands over the packaging of Bliss’ Securex soap, which Colgate claimed was similar to its Protex brand.


SCA bid by Cape Cookies crumbles

The cookie has crumbled for biscuit manufacturer, Cape Cookies, which has been told it cannot trademark its SnackCrax biscuit brand as a ‘savoury biscuit’ as it would cause confusion in the market with its competitor, Salticrax.


Big Pharma wins against Clicks in patents dispute

More than a year after reserving judgment in an urgent application, Judge Colleen Collis has finally handed down her ruling, confirming pharmaceutical giant Bayer’s patent rights.


Trade Mark Registration Process in South Africa and the benefits thereof

This article will explain the Trade Mark registration process in South Africa. It will also provide you with the benefits of a registered Trade Mark.


Protex and Lifebuoy brawl over advertising claims

The maker of Protex, Colgate-Palmolive, has failed to convince the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) that its competitor Lifebuoy should be banned from using the phrase ‘Deep Clean’ on its soaps reports Business Insider.


Nando's grills Pedro's in ads scrap

In two recent ads, flame-grilled chicken chain Pedros poked at Nando’s, implying that its characters disapprove of Nando’s chicken and prefer Pedros chicken instead.


Chicken Licken loses 'soul' copyright case

Chicken Licken has been denied sole use of the word ‘soul’ in the context of restaurants, having failed to convince the SCA that a smaller competitor was sowing confusion.


How US firm doctored FNB logo

A top New York design firm hired to create the brand identity for FNB in 1986 lifted the famous acacia tree artwork from an SA botany book by Jo Onderstall.


Ntando Duma allegedly liable for copyright infringement

Actress Ntando Duma will soon find out whether she is liable for copyright infringement following improper conduct allegations levelled against her by celebrity photography agency Pixel Kollective after she apparently used photos taken by the agency for her social media campaign for snacks manufacturer Simba.


Chicken Licken loses trademark appeal bid

Chicken Licken had its application for leave to appeal turned down by the Western Cape High Court in its battle over its trademark ‘Soul’.


SCA upholds SARS cheap Chinese clothes appeal

The SCA has upheld an appeal by SARS justifying its decision to seize 19 containers of cheap clothes from China, reports Fin 24.


SCA dismisses cigarette trademark dispute

It was not all smooth sailing for a cigarette manufacturer when it tried to convince some of the country’s top judges that the words Pacific and Atlantic were actually the same thing.


ConCourt to rule on copyright exemption for blind

In a watershed case to be heard in the Constitutional Court on 12 May, Blind SA and Section27 will highlight the unconstitutionality of the Copyright Act of 1978 for limiting access to books for persons who are blind or visually-impaired.


Businessman fined for selling counterfeit VW goods

A company in Gqeberha that sold counterfeit Volkswagen goods was convicted and fined R17 000 by an Eastern Cape court this week.





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