The plight of the solitary entrepreneur in the local IP landscape

The plight of the solitary entrepreneur in the local IP landscape

There has never been a time in history where the protection of intellectual property has been so critical.

Inventors, designers and content creators abound, and all of them have an idea to sell.

A brand to offer.

The South African Patents Act offers protection of technical inventions.

To be protected an invention must be new and inventive.

“New” means that it must not appear in any product or publication anywhere in the world.

“Inventive” means that it must not be obvious to a person who is skilled in the technical field of the invention.

Designs must also be new to be protectable. They must also be original or have something distinctive about them. They must not just be “common place”. The Designs Act sets the conditions of protection.

Brand signs such as trademarks must not be like any other registered trademarks. They must also not be like well-known trademarks.

Copyright does not have to be registered to be protected. It is immediately protected upon creation of the work, as long as it is original. “Original” does not mean new. It means that the creator must not have copied the work.

Copyright in video and film can however be registered. It is the only exception out of all other copyright works such as writings, music, art, sculptures and so on.

Inventions, designs and trademarks may all be subject of applications at CIPC. Inventions form the subject of Patent applications. Designs form the subject of Design registration applications. Trademarks form the subject of Trademark registration applications.

Sometimes it is difficult to decide as a business owner or an entrepreneur what to start with protecting: the invention, the trademark or the design?

One way or the other the fact is that other people are busy trying to produce the same invention, trademark or design. Time is therefore of the essence in IP protection because the competitors are invisible but growing by the day.

Get in touch with an IP attorney on +27 67 736 9436 or for a free consultation to thrash out an efficient IP protection strategy.