Areas of Practice
A trademark is generally speaking, any sign or indication which can be represented graphically and which serves or may serve to distinguish the brand owners goods or services from the goods or services of others.
Our trade mark practice includes advising on the selection, availability, use, protection, licensing, transfer and enforcement of trade mark rights.
We clear and register trade marks locally and internationally and negotiate co-existence and settlement arrangements. While we always aim at settling disputes amicably and to the best commercial advantage of our clients, we do not hesitate to enforce and defend our clients rights through litigation, opposition and cancellation procedures, should this become necessary.
Copyright encompasses a bundle of non-register-able rights belonging to authors and creators of literary, musical, artistic and other works recognized by the Copyright Act, including computer programs.
Unlike trademarks, patents and designs that require registration in order to qualify as intellectual property that confer certain rights on the proprietor thereof that can be protected, copyright automatically comes into existence when certain ideas or products of the intellect are embodied in material form. In South Africa no registration is possible, although optional registration of cinematography & films is provided for.
By owning the copyright in a work, the owner has the right to the exclusive use of the work, thus controlling the commercial exploitation thereof, either personally or by licensing others to do so. Generally, the owner will be compensated by way of a royalty or other payment for the permission to use the work, therefore deriving income from the use of the work.
The rights obtained through copyright have a limited lifespan, generally twenty years after the death of the author.
Patents relate to inventions and innovations. We work with our clients to identify, secure and enforce patent rights and cooperate with leading patent attorneys in South Africa and abroad in all disciplines of patent law and on a wide range of technologies. We draft and prosecute patents for inventions nationally, regionally and through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system.
Registered designs may be obtained to protect the particular appearance and shape of industrial articles, both as far as their functional and aesthetic characteristics are concerned. Design rights are obtained through registration, with which we are able to assist with on a national and international basis.
Our commercial practice covers a wide range of areas including company formation and structuring, liquor law, product liability and quality control and buildings law and all related commercial litigation.
We are able to draft a wide variety of intellectual property related instruments, including licensing, franchising, merchandising and distribution agreements.
In addition to the above, our competence extends to providing advice and litigation assistance relating to the protection and enforcement of non-registration and other non-traditional intellectual property rights, including trade and domain names, trade secrets and know-how.