IP/IT Law: What type of IP protection should I get?

Intellectual Property (IP) can exist in the form of an invention, brand, design or artistic creation. IP is an important asset in today’s knowledge economy and should be managed. However, it’s important to know that there are various types of IP protection available.

Types of IP protection

The Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC) of South Africa administers the following IP domains in South Africa: trade marks, patents, designs and copyright.

Trade Marks

  • A trade mark identifies the goods or services of a person (juristic or natural) as distinct from those of other persons.
  • The owner has the exclusive right to use, sell or license the trade mark.
  • You must apply for the registration of a trademark in each jurisdiction you wish to protect your mark or device (i.e. logo).

Trade marks can include logos, words, letters, numbers, colours, a phrase, sound, scent, shape, picture, aspect of packaging or branding – or any combination of these. The name and slogan of a company, for example, can be trade marked.

Patents

  • A patent protects how an invention works or functions.
  • The owner has the exclusive right to use, sell or license the invention. Patents also allow the owner to stop others from manufacturing, using, copying and/or selling the device or process.
  • You have to apply for the registration of a patent in the jurisdiction you wish to protect your invention.

Patents include inventions, such as devices, products, processes, substances or a combination of known elements in any field of industry and agriculture, which are new or have industrial applications. A new way of enhancing people’s hearing, for example, could be patented.

Aesthetic designs & functional designs:

  • The visual appearance of a product is protected, but not the way it works.
  • Appearance that has a feature necessitated by its function.
  • The owner has the exclusive right to use, sell or license the registered design.
  • You must apply for the registration of a design.

This category includes Industrial designs, which could include the shape of a car, for example.

Copyright

  • Automatically protected; no registration required in jurisdictions such as South Africa.
  • The owner has the exclusive right to use, sell or license the copyright work

Copyright would include artistic works, literature, music, film, broadcasts and computer programs. The moment the work has been created, it is automatically protected.

Reference:

  • The Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission | CIPC

This article is for general information purposes and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact us At DKVG Attorneys for specific and detailed advice.

For more information, contact our IT&IP Law specialist
See our Trademark Guide https://dkvg.co.za/intellectual-property-trade-marks/

© DotNews, 2005-2018. This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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