Find a South African Lawyer in SA's leading Legal Directory |

Areas of Law and Guides

Intellectual Property Law

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 Intellectual Property Law Articles posted

Please Call Me battle heading back to ConCourt

Telecommunications giant Vodacom is still prepared to negotiate with Please Call Me inventor Nkosana Makate on whether to compensate him a share of revenue that the service has generated. This, notes a Moneyweb report, emerged from Vodacom’s affidavit filed this week in response to Makate’s latest application at the Constitutional Court, which seeks clarity on last year's groundbreaking order that compelled the company to enter into in good faith compensation negotiations with him.

SCA's precedent-setting ruling on generic term

Ackermans was recently successful in what Werksmans Attorneys’ Janine Hollesen calls a precedent-setting trademark dispute with Truworths (Pepkor Retail (Pty) Ltd v Truworths Ltd) which was heard by the SCA. In an analysis in The Star, Hollesen notes that the trademark at the centre of the dispute was ‘The Look’.

SA company ordered to stop using fake logo

SA company Trio End Street has been interdicted from using a fake BMW logo on its car rims and wheels, and thus infringing on the trade mark of the German company, says a report in The Star. The mother company of BMW SA – BMW AG – holds the trade mark to the logo. However, it emerged that Trio End Street, trading as Golden West Tyres & Wheels, was using the logo on its rims.

Media24 copyright appeal fails in Supreme Court of Appeal

Media24 Books appeal to the SCA after the Western Cape High Court threw out its copyright action against Oxford University Press‚ which it claimed had copied its English-Afrikaans children’s dictionary, was dismissed with costs by Judge Malcolm Wallis‚ sitting with four other judges. A TimesLIVE report says the case – thought to be only the second dictionary copyright row to have come to court anywhere in the world – had its roots in 2011‚ when Media24 started work on a new Aanleerderswoordeboek.

SCA dismisses Yuppiechef trademark appeal

The Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by Yuppiechef Holdings that another online company‚ Yuppie Gadgets‚ infringed Yuppiechef’s trademark, says a BDlive report. The trouble started when Urban Gadgets decided in 2011 to change its name to Yuppie Gadgets‚ prompting Yuppiechef to launch its application.

SABC wins copyright battle over documentary

The Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) has issued a final interdict against veteran documentary producer Sylvia Vollenhoven in terms of which she may not distribute or broadcast the documentary Project Spear, commissioned by the public broadcaster, notes a Pretoria News report. The SABC was due to broadcast the documentary in September 2012, but gave various reasons for not doing so, including that it would open the broadcaster to defamation claims as there were allegations that could not be substantiated.

Best way to catch counterfeit kingpins

While many brand-holders adopt an aggressive approach and pursue criminal action against so-called counterfeiters under the Counterfeit Goods Act, the Criminal Procedure Act provides very useful procedural tools with which to flush out counterfeit kingpins – ironically with the assistance of their own partners in crime, says Adams & Adams Attorneys’ Jan-Harm Swanepoel, in an analysis in Business Day.

Mentioned in