The following are the traditional forms of IP.

Inventions. Protected by Patents.

An invention is something that solves a problem and is useful. It can be an electronic gadget, a mechanical assembly or a chemical formulation.

For an invention to be protected by a patent it has to be new. To determine whether it is new a search has to be done on international and local databases. The search is specialised; meaning that not every person is trained enough to undertake it, no matter their technical prowess.

A search is not perfect. However, it gives a very good indication of what is out there. If your invention has been done before, at least you would have a good chance of knowing. Therefore, the search can help you prevent spending money in blindly applying for a patent only to have your application rejected without any plan B.

A patent attorney is trained in patent searches and will guide you through the process. Contact us today.

Trademarks. Protect by official registration

A trademark is a sign that is used in business to brand goods or services. Logos, product names, company names, slogans/taglines.

For a trademark to be registrable it has to be visible, firstly. It also has to be capable of differentiating your goods and services from those of competitors. To determine whether your trademark is registrable an analysis has to be done, as there are other factors that affect trademark registration.

As IP attorneys we are trained to undertake the analysis and guide you on the next steps to obtaining your registered trademark. 

Copyright

Books, lyrics, poetry, film, art, sculptures, statues, music, computer programs, photos. Copyright in general does not need to be registered. If you create it then it is yours and no one is supposed to use it.

With films though it is advisable to register. If you register it then you have solid proof that your film is the original if someone copies it.

Designs

Imagine a Tupperware bottle. A cup. The body of a car.

A shape, arrangement of features, pattern or decoration feature on a physical article can be protected. If for example you have a cosmetic product and you have a specially designed bottle for it, you can protect that design so that it is used only by yourself. That way you maintain the uniqueness of your product.

This is not limited to bottles. Hair combs. Keys. Any other physical article could be worthy of design protection. We will help you to evaluate the design and advise you whether it can be registered or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by IP

The concepts and creations that come out of your mind are IP. This means that if you invent, write, art, brand, design, code and do all sorts of creative, scientific and engineering works, you are creating IP.

What then do I do when I have created IP?

Take steps to protect the IP. Find out if your IP is registrable and file an application to protect it. An IP attorney will help you with these steps.

Why must I use DBA Attorneys?

We start from the grassroots. Our approach is personal, considering your unique circumstances as a company or an individual. We also believe in fostering entrepreneurship in Africa, taking pride in being part of technological advancements pioneered by SMMEs.

What happens if someone starts using my copyright or my trademark without my permission?

This depends on what type of copyright it is and whether the copyright and trademark are registered. We will assist you in developing a strategy to fight for those rights.

How long will my IP rights last?

An invention is protected by a patent registration. The patent registration lasts for a maximum of twenty (20) years. Trademark rights can last until you decide to let them go. Otherwise they will go on and on. Generally, copyright will outlive you by fifty (50) years. Design rights last for a maximum of fifteen (15) years.

I want to discuss my idea with a potential business partner, friend or funder. What do I do?

Your IP must remain a secret until registered. Get a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). And no, not from the www. Get a proper NDA from us. The NDA will serve two purposes: firstly to make sure that your IP registration application is not disqualified; and secondly to make the other person responsible for keeping the IP a secret on their side. 

Can you assist with international IP protection?

Yes, we offer international IP protection services. We can help you secure IP rights in various countries through the appropriate channels, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or regional IP offices. 

What are your fees for RAF matters?

We do not bill our clients for RAF or other personal injury matters. We work on a “no win no pay” basis, meaning that we do not get paid unless you get paid.

There was a car accident and I lost the person who used to pay my school fees and feed me. Can RAF pay for it?

Yes. Our claim against RAF will be for loss of support.

I had a vehicle accident and got seriously injured. As a result I failed to work and get money. I also had to pay for treatment. Can you help?

Yes. We can claim the money that you spent on the treatment, the money that you could have earned while recovering and that you will lose by not being able to do your job properly in the future. We can also claim for your pain and suffering in some cases.

What kind of family and domestic matters do you assist with?

Any, as long as they are legal in nature. Marriage contracts, trusts, wills, divorce.