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Patent/IP in South Africa

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Patent/IP in South Africa

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Intellectual Property in South Africa

For a list of Patent Attorneys, please click on the 'Patent Attorneys in South Africa' tab located above.

Intellectual Property, or IP, as it is colloquially called, is characterised as legal protection for commercially precious products of human intellect. There are, generally, three forms of IP: patents, copyrights and trademarks. Although these articles are similar many some ways, they each have individual idiosyncrasies and definitions which make them unique. Perhaps most importantly, there is no physicality to intellectual property. If effectively safeguards an intangible idea or process.

Patents

Generally speaking, patents are granted to inventors for inventions. These can include anything from machinery, tools, processes, chemicals, biotechnology, software, etc.

To qualify for a patent, an inventor must invariably create something that is:

  • Of patentable matter
  • Unique to patentee
  • Merited and can be utilised
  • Innovative
  • Non-obvious

Under a patent, the patentee reserves the right stop or limit others from utilising and trading the invention. Without explicit permission from the patentee, persons using the patent in any of these ways are infringing, and could be subjected to legal action.

Patents are regulated by the Patents Act; the Act is overseen by the Registrar of Patents. Legality and litigation is dealt with by the Commissioner of Patents. South Africa subscribes to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, which allows claim priority from the date of an application in another convention country. South Africa acceded to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 1999. This allows single patent applications to be filed in different countries.

Trademarks

Trademarks are used to denote epithets, logos, symbols, slogans, etc, that are individual to a business and product. Fundamentally, the things that distinguish your product or service from a competitor's. Businesses understandably go to endless lengths to have control over their trademarks. Therefore, any persons found infringing upon them through unlawful use could be subject to legal action.
Famous examples of trademarks are Coca Cola and McDonald's.

Trademarks are regulated by the Trade Marks Act. The Act is overseen by the Registrar of Trademarks.

Copyright

Copyright gives someone to sell and reproduce a protected product, which is invariably printed work. Things like books, magazines, websites, photographs, music, film and art are common examples of copyrighted work. Copyright denotes five rights of the author, artist, etc: reproduction, distribution, adaptation, performance and display. Use of such materials or works without the explicit permission of the copyright holder is classed as infringement, and persons doing so could be subject to legal action.

Registration Office
CIPRO
P.O. Box 429
Pretoria
0001
South Africa

Tel: +27 12 394 9500
Fax: + 27 123 94 9501
Website: www.cipro.co.za/2/home
E-mail: info@cipro.gov.za

Click here to Ask an Expert about Patent/IP in South Africa

Organisations that can assist with Patent/IP

  • > Nominus.com

    When expanding your business to South Africa, donít forget to protect your brand. We provide Trademark Registration Services in South Africa and in all African countries

    More Details Visit Website

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