Have you ever created something someone else was willing to steal? South African legislation has been put in place to protect people’s rights to own their creative products; such protection extends to everything from an idea, a name or an invention, amongst others. The legal definition of Intellectual Property is broad and inclusive of many areas, such as music, inventions, law, etc. Intellectual property is defined as “An intangible right protecting the products of human intelligence and creation, such as copyrightable works, trademarks and trade secrets.”
There are four types of Intellectual Property in South African law.
There are also four Acts of Parliament that govern the above mentioned types of Intellectual Property:
The Trade Marks Act can only protect trademarks if they are first registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). Trade marks can be a brand name, a slogan, a logo or even a shape. A registered trade mark can be protected for ever provided it is renewed every ten years.
The patent law prevents others from making, using, exercising, or disposing of the invention in question. South African Patent Law protects the patent holder for twenty years from the first registration of the patent, providing that the patent is renewed annually. South Africa is a signatory of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). This means that South Africans are able to file both national and international patent applications.
A design essentially refers to the shape and other features of an article that appeals to the eye. Under the South African Designs Act, designs that may be registered with CIPC fall into two categories, some by their function and others by their aesthetic appeal. Provided that they fall within certain specifications designs may be registered, and when they are the aesthetic designs are protected for fifteen years and functional designs for ten years.
According to this Act, copyright lasts the life of the author plus 50 years and as South Africa is a signatory to the Berne Convention (an international agreement on copyright) any work protected under South African copyright laws, is protected in other countries as well.
Whatever the intellectual property one wishes to register, it is essential to consult the above mentioned legislation as well as an attorney who specialises in that area of law. The law of intellectual property can be tricky to navigate for a novice, so getting the correct information and assistance is the first step in correctly keeping your creations your own.
Brian Blignant Attorneys bases its services on its knowledge and experience in the particular legal field. This knowledge, together with the legal principles and business realism gained from years of practice is being successfully applied in practice and places Brian Blignant Attorneys in the position to appropriately scope the clients' requirements and build a cost effective solution for them. The firm generates options with a view to achieve favourable business results and provides monthly reports to clients. Protect your mastermind creations or discoveries and your exclusive rights thereto. Brian Blignant Attorneys will assist in the registration of patents, designs, trademarks and domain names, copyright your interest today.
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