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Legal Issues


Intellectual Property (IP) Rights

Intellectual Property Rights are legal rights, which result from intellectual activity in industrial, scientific, literary & artistic fields. These rights safeguard inventors and other producers of intellectual goods & services by granting them certain time-limited rights to control their use. Protected IP rights like other property can be a matter of trade, which can be owned, sold or bought. These are intangible and non-exhausted consumption. Intellectual property refers to all creations or products of the human mind that can be used for commercial gain. Below are the Types or Tools of Intellectual Property Rights:


What is a patent?
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. It provides protection for the invention to the owner of the patent. Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the patent owner's consent. The protection is granted for a limited period of 20 years.
However, the patent owner has the right to decide who may - or may not - use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected. The patent owner may give permission to, or license, other parties to use the invention on mutually agreed terms. The owner may also sell the right to the invention to someone else, who will then become the new owner of the patent. Once a patent expires, the protection ends, and an invention enters the public domain, that is, the owner no longer holds exclusive rights to the invention, which becomes available to commercial exploitation by others.

Source: Trademarks, Copyright, Patents & Designs, CIPRO brochure, 2002.
Alan Dunlop
Hahn & Hahn
Tel: (012) 342 1774
Marco van der Merwe
Spoor & Fisher
Tel: (012) 673 1111
Fax: (012) 673 1120
Patent and trademark services
Patent and Trademark services is a professional practice based in Johannesburg, South Africa, offering patents, trademarks, copyright, registered design and other intellectual property services.


What is a design?
Designs refer to creative activity, which result in the ornamental or formal appearance of a product. Design rights refer to a new or original design that is accorded to the owner of a validly registered design. Designs are also a component of intellectual property.
If you have created a new design, (a new shape, form or appearance of an article), you can register your design to protect it.
There are two different types of design which can be registered. The first one is an aesthetic design - just for the beauty of the shape configuration or ornamentation. The second is a functional design where the shape or configuration is necessitated by the function.
You can apply to register your design only if it is new and original. It is new if it is not part of the "state of the art" (current state of development) in technology.

Source: Trademarks, Copyright, Patents & Designs, CIPRO brochure, 2002.


What is a copyright?
Copyright is a legal term describing rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. In other words, if you create an original work that people can see or hear, you can get copyright. Having copyright means that you own that work and you can control its commercial use. Your copyright can protect your work from being copied or reproduced without your permission. An original idea cannot have copyright in itself. The idea must be put into a physical form, such as a book, a card, jewellery, radio and TV recording, musical works and video works.
Other kinds of works covered by copyright include:
  • literary works such as:
    • novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspapers and computer programs;
    • databases;
    • o films,
    • musical compositions, and choreography;
  • artistic works such as:
    • paintings,
    • drawings,
    • photographs and sculpture;
    • architecture; and
    • advertisements,
    • maps and
    • technical drawings.
Copyright subsists in a work by virtue of creation; hence it's not mandatory to register. However, registering a copyright provides evidence that copyright subsists in the work & creator is the owner of the work.
Creators often sell the rights to their works to individuals or companies best able to market the works in return for payment. These payments are often made dependent on the actual use of the work, and are then referred to as royalties. These economic rights have a time limit, (other than photographs) is for life of author plus sixty years after creator's death.

Source: Trademarks, Copyright, Patents & Designs, CIPRO brochure, 2002.


What is a trademark?
A trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies certain goods or services as those produced or provided by a specific person or enterprise. It is also known as a brand name, a slogan or a logo. It may be one word like (Aquafresh) or a combination of words like (Kentucky Fried Chicken), letters, and numerals. A slogan is a short phrase or sentence, like Toyota's "Everything keeps going right, Toyota". A logo is a picture or a symbol. For instance the Arrive Alive logo is a registered trademark.
They may consist of drawings, symbols, three- dimensional signs such as the shape and packaging of goods, audible signs such as music or vocal sounds, fragrances, or colours used as distinguishing features.
It provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment.
It helps consumers identify and purchase a product or service because its nature and quality, indicated by its unique trademark, meets their needs. Registration of trademark is prima facie proof of its ownership giving statutory right to the proprietor. Trademark rights may be held in perpetuity. The initial term of registration is for 10 years; thereafter it may be renewed from time to time.

Source: Trademarks, Copyright, Patents & Designs, CIPRO brochure, 2002.
In a nutshell
Within a year Creation Consulting was becoming a recognized force in their industry. Their methods were being noted and in some cases mimicked by competitors. It was time to protect their assets. In the case of Creation Consulting, their biggest asset was their name and their intellectual property.
Kiran registered their logo as a trademark as it represented the strength of their brand. She protected their software through a patent, registered their software packaging as a protected design and ensured that all of her intellectual property had copyright.