Patents

Patents

Licencing of Patent Applications – Pre-Grant Royalty Earning

Posted on Dec 7, 2015

Licencing of Patent Applications – Pre-Grant Royalty Earning

Research and development is costly. International patent portfolios even more so. The business strategy of most corporations, when filing a patent application, is to seek some return on R&D investment, mostly through self-exploitation of the products of R&D, or through royalty earnings from intellectual Property (IP). The time frame between filing a patent application to grant can take many years. Patent offices’ backlogs often result in a three year (or longer) delay before any office actions are issued or an application is reviewed. Legislation provides for the licensing of...

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Google’s Silver Bullet for Patent Trolls

Posted on Aug 3, 2015

Google’s Silver Bullet for Patent Trolls

Technology companies take note: Google may have found a way to beat patent trolls, and you are invited to join them. The term “patent troll” refers to an entity which exists for the sole purpose of enforcing or licensing patent rights which were not the result of its own innovation. Although the term “patent assertion entity” is preferred by policy makers and academics, the more colourful and emotive “patent troll” has firmly entered our lexicon and has recently even appeared in a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Google, SAP, Uber and other leading technology companies have banded...

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Intellectual Property and the Constitution

Posted on Jul 14, 2015

Intellectual Property and the Constitution

Section 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, provides that it is the supreme law of the country and that any law inconsistent with it is invalid. This provision creates the necessity to interpret the Copyright Act in a manner consistent with the Constitution at the risk of the Act, or particular provisions of it, being declared to be invalid. On the other hand, section 36 provides that the rights in the Bill of Rights (Chapter 2 of the Constitution, comprising sections 7-38, which detail the fundamental human rights) may be limited in terms of law of general...

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A Spoon Full of Sugar for Plain Packaging

Posted on Jun 9, 2014

A Spoon Full of Sugar for Plain Packaging

History has taught us that the South African Government, and the Legislature in particular, will not hesitate to make bad law. The volume of carelessly drafted, ill conceived, unconstitutional and overtly political laws that the public has been force-fed in recent years is so great that recourse to the Constitutional Court has become a pedestrian matter. In fact, the alarm felt over perpetual ham-handed law making is only outstripped by Government’s brazen disregard for public cooperation in the democratic process. This even after the public, who are expected to prop up and thereafter obey...

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Patents and Public Health – The New Frontier

Posted on Mar 4, 2014

Patents and Public Health – The New Frontier

The long-awaited South African draft National Policy on Intellectual Property (the draft IP Policy) which was published on 4 September 2013 (read the policy here) has recently led to an unfortunate furore in the press. On 17 January 2014 Money MSN published a report based on a document that was leaked from the Innovative Pharmaceutical Association South Africa (IPASA), an industry lobby group comprising the local subsidiaries of innovator pharmaceutical companies. The document is a plan for a campaign prepared by U.S.-based consultancy Public Affairs Engagement,  to delay and modify the...

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Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, 2013 – A Review

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, 2013 – A Review

On 1 November 2013, the South African Department of Trade and Industry published the draft “Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill” (the “Draft Bill”) for comments. The Draft Bill comes shortly after South Africa decided to unilaterally terminate its bilateral investment treaties (“BITs”) with certain European states and specifically Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. The Draft Bill is intended to promote investment by modernising the current investment regime and getting investors, whether foreign or local, to achieve...

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