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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

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

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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.


SCA upholds advertising body’s rights

The SCA has upheld the authority of the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) to adjudicate on complaints by members that are also binding on non-members.


Chicken Licken’s infringement case dismissed

The Western Cape High Court has dismissed an application by Golden Fried Chicken (Pty) Ltd – the owners of Chicken Licken – who alleged trademark infringements in relation to the word ‘soul’, against a Plettenberg Bay restaurant formerly trading as ‘East Coast Soul Kitchen’.


Concern over new Films and Publications Amendment Act

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The start-up starter-pack

You are tired of the nine-to-five, but you have a great business idea. You decide that you are resigning first thing Monday morning to spend the next month getting your ducks in a row to start your cash cow, but you have no idea where to start? That is where most people start. If you do not know where to begin, read this post.


Firms in battle over IP for armoured vehicle

Two local arms manufacturers are locked in a court battle over a dispute about the ownership of the intellectual property (IP) of an armoured military vehicle.


Court action planned to bar use of Bok emblem

An Eastern Cape man is seeking to have the courts bar the use of the Springbok emblem, arguing it is an illegal and gratuitous display of an apartheid symbol.


'Self-serving' butter case struck from roll

The battle for the word ‘butter’ came under the spotlight in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) when Clover took on Stork about the its latest ‘butter spread’.


Europe recognises SA Rooibos as 'protected'

In a first for African food, Rooibos, which is grown in the Cederberg mountains, has received the international protection designation from the European Commission.


Software developer sets sights on record payout

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'Please call me' dispute ignores IP issues

A highly-contested and expensive case between Nkosana Makate and Vodacom has resulted in bad precedence in the field of company law on the issue of ostensible authority.


Nivea case highlights subjectivity of judgments

When Koni Multinational Brands launched Connie Men Active Shower Gel, a product in competition with Nivea Men’s established brand and which featured an arguably similar get-up – Nivea’s parent company Beiersdorf AG sued for ‘passing off’.


Prominent attorney sought to mislead judges

A senior partner at a leading SA law firm has scored a victory for Nivea in its battle with actress Connie Ferguson's beauty products company, but Gérard du Plessis faces a fight of his own after the SCA reported him to the Legal Practice Council for allegedly attempting to mislead five judges.


David and Goliath at the honey pot...

A tiny KZN honey enterprise is in a battle with corporate giant Food Lover’s Market (FLM) over it trademark, Nature’s Gold.


Berry industry in row over trading rights

The blueberry industry could be at risk because of an intellectual property dispute, according to the South African berry producers’ association, Berries ZA.


SCA scotches bid to pass off vodka as whisky

The SCA has interdicted a company from selling two products which purport to be whisky. It also restrained the company from representing the products as being whisky or whisky-flavoured when they were not, and as having an alcohol content of 43% or higher when they did not.


What is and what's not patentable

In response to the scramble to find a cure and be the first to own patent rights to a vaccine against the coronavirus, the question arises whether current and future research in the fight against Covid-19 is even patentable.





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