In an increasingly knowledge driven business environment, intellectual property (IP) is a key consideration in day-to-day business decisions. The exploitation, protection and enforcement of IP rights, especially in the creative business and technology industries, can be a key measure of success or failure.
We offer services in:
Commercialising intellectual property rights, which includes:
- Trade Marks
- The buying and selling of intellectual property rights
- Structuring licensing strategies
- Negotiating and drafting of IP contracts
- Trade mark and Design registration in South Africa, the United Kingdom (UK), Europe and Internationally
- The detecting and prevention of the infringement of rights
Copyright and Unregistered Designs
Some limited rights are available automatically, simply by creating something new. Copyright is a type of Intellectual Property Right, which arises automatically on the creation of particular “copyright works”, such as books, films, music and computer programmes. Certain three dimensional articles or their surface decoration may be protected by unregistered design, rights which arises automatically on the creation of designs protectable by unregistered design right. Unregistered design rights can be used to prevent the production / sale of similar designs, even if not directly copied from the protected design. We can advice on whether copyright or unregistered design right subsists in a particular type of work / design and also whether designs may be eligible for protection through design registration. These “free” rights are however much harder (and therefore expensive) to enforce and usually have a much narrower scope than registered rights. They are a very useful adjunct to registered rights but should not be seen as an adequate replacement for registered rights.
These rights can be very powerful and cost-effective for the right type of product. They last longer than utility patents and cost less to renew. They are directed at the way something looks rather than how it functions. Applications are filed by submitting drawings or photographs of the design at the relevant Intellectual Property Office in the territory, where protection is required. We can handle all aspects of preparing, filing and obtaining registered designs, on your behalf in South Africa, the UK, European Union and Internationally. The requirements for design registration vary in different territories. We have a network of local attorneys in most countries in the world, in which it is possible to register designs and use these contacts, where necessary, to ensure that our clients obtain protection for their designs, in any country, in which they are interested. If a client discovers that someone is producing designs similar to theirs or suspect that someone has copied a design, we can assess the situation and advise on how best to enforce rights.
We prepare applications, on behalf of our clients, for registration in South Africa, the UK, European Union and Internationally. We have a network of local attorneys in most countries in the world, in which it is possible to register Trade Marks and use these contacts where necessary to ensure our clients obtain protection for their marks, in any country, in which they are interested. Once applications are filed, they go through an examination procedure and official objections often arise. Our role is then to deal with these objections, in consultation with our client to achieve the widest possible protection for the trade protection of the trade mark. If another organisation deems a trade mark application to be in conflict with their trade mark, we may receive an opposition. We will deal with defending the opposition and in negotiating settlements with the other party (if appropriate). Prior to using a new trade mark, or using an existing trade mark in a new territory, it is very important to undertake a search to ensure that no other party has rights, which could prevent the using of the trade mark in question. We can conduct a variety of searches to establish, so far as is possible, that a given trade mark is clear for use and registration. Trade mark registrations typically last indefinitely, provided they are renewed at regular intervals. In most countries renewals are due every 10 years.