All IPStell

A Spoon Full of Sugar for Plain Packaging

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in IPStell, Patents, Trade Marks | Comments Off on A Spoon Full of Sugar for Plain Packaging

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...

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Patents and Public Health – The New Frontier

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in Editorial, IPStell, Patents | Comments Off on Patents and Public Health – The New Frontier

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...

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Unveiling The Wolf

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in IPStell, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on Unveiling The Wolf

Unveiling The Wolf

The erstwhile Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill (“IPLAB”), generally known as the “Traditional Knowledge Bill”, became an Act when it was published in the Government Gazette as having been assented to by President Jacob Zuma on 10 December 2013. This despite vociferous objection from the IP community and other informed sources. (Read more about IPLAB here, here, here and here.) The general consensus was that the Bill was fundamentally flawed and an abominable piece of legislation. Issue was not taken with the notion that...

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Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, 2013 – A Review

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in IPStell, Patents | Comments Off on Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, 2013 – A Review

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...

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Public Health Sector and the South African National Policy on Intellectual Property

Posted by on Jan 24, 2014 in IPStell, Patents | Comments Off on Public Health Sector and the South African National Policy on Intellectual Property

Public Health Sector and the South African National Policy on Intellectual Property

The publication of the South African National Policy on intellectual property (SANIPP) in September 2013 has opened a proverbial can of worms and the Pharmaceutical industry is up in arms. The SANIPP proposes the introduction of stronger IP rights through the introduction of, amongst others, pre-and post-grant opposition proceedings, and makes reference to the introduction of compulsory licensing provisions in the Patents Act.  Whilst the focus is on various industries, the matter of public health and the pharmaceutical industry forms a...

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Formula For Plain (Bland) Packaging

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Editorial, IPStell, Trade Marks | Comments Off on Formula For Plain (Bland) Packaging

Formula For Plain (Bland) Packaging

As of 6 December this year you will no longer see a nurturing mother feeding her happy baby a bottle of formula milk as an advertisement in any newspaper, magazine, on a website or on television. In fact, you will not see the names of any brand or logos of infant formula, follow-up formula or powdered milks, or feeding bottles, teats and feeding cups for infants being promoted anywhere. Well, you will still see the names on the products as you are standing in front of the shelf in the supermarket and wondering which product is the best option...

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In vino veritas – Mettenheimer v Zonquasdrif Vineyards

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in IPStell, Trade Marks | Comments Off on In vino veritas – Mettenheimer v Zonquasdrif Vineyards

In vino veritas – Mettenheimer v Zonquasdrif Vineyards

While trade mark infringement cases are not unusual, there are few decisions in which the central issue which required determination was whether the respective goods involved were so similar that it would gave rise to a likelihood of deception or confusion.  It is for this reasonthat the decision in Mettenheimer & Another v Zonquasdrif Vineyards CC & Others ([2013] ZASCA 152) deserves consideration. Mr Mettenheimer, the first appellant, was the proprietor of the ZONQUASDRIFT trade mark, registered in class 33 in respect of alcoholic...

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Draft Policy on Patents – Passages from India?

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in IPStell, Patents | Comments Off on Draft Policy on Patents – Passages from India?

Draft Policy on Patents – Passages from India?

Introduction The Draft National Policy on Intellectual Property (DNPIP) of South Africa was published on 4 September 2013 for public comments. Despite the fact that the DNPIP is not conducive to a systematic and consequential analysis of it and displays an alarming lack of understanding and/or knowledge of existing South African IP law one cannot overlook the repetitive element of requirement for “stronger patents” which the DNPIP states will be achieved through implementation of a search and examination system as well as pre- and...

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Government’s reflections on the world of Intellectual Property

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Copyright, Design, IPStell, Patents, Publications, Trade Marks, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on Government’s reflections on the world of Intellectual Property

Government’s reflections on the world of Intellectual Property

INTRODUCTION Have you ever basked in the warm sunshine of a glorious summer’s day, in daydreaming mode, and allowed your mind simply to wander at random? You start with a thought, you turn it over in your mind, and then a point is reached where you go off at a tangent and muse over some largely unrelated thought, only to be diverted in yet another direction. Eventually you may go the full circle and come back momentarily to the point of departure, before heading off again elsewhere. Daydreaming can be a very pleasant experience and it has...

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The Rooibos Rush

Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in IPStell, Merchandise Marks, Trade Marks, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on The Rooibos Rush

The Rooibos Rush

South Africa is no stranger to the fever that accompanies the discovery of gemstones or precious metal in a particular region. Indeed, for decades the mineral riches of our nation were legendary across the world and the object of several battles for imperial, colonial or feudal control over the diamond, gold, platinum and coal fields of South Africa. As a testament to this, the foothills of Table Mountain is home to the Rhodes Memorial dedicated to the fervently imperialist, English mining magnate Cecil John Rhodes, former Prime Minister of...

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Confessions Of A Privileged Lawyer

Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 in Editorial, IPStell | Comments Off on Confessions Of A Privileged Lawyer

Confessions Of A Privileged Lawyer

I have a confession to make. I plead guilty as charged. I admit that I am a white male establishment lawyer. I practised for 35 years as a partner of a prominent attorneys firm specialising in the field of intellectual property law (“IP”). Thereafter, upon retirement, I became a Professor of IP Law. This makes me a member of that heinous and much vilified group of lawyers who are charged with the crime of wishing to preserve its privileged position and therefore overtly or covertly being against transformation in the legal profession and...

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The Winning Choice For Traditional Culture

Posted by on Jul 20, 2013 in IPStell, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on The Winning Choice For Traditional Culture

The Winning Choice For Traditional Culture

Note: Seldom will the VineOracle descend into the dust of the arena, even when the winner is known to her in advance. But on this occasion she considers it necessary to expound upon the recent developments in IP legal development for the sake of those who care to learn. Here is her report on the match between two opposing, albeit ill-matched, forces seeking to use the intellectual property law system for the protection of traditional knowledge. In 2004 the Cabinet  approved the adoption of a policy on Indigenous Knowledge Systems,...

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Clean Power Technology Protection

Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Editorial, IPStell, Patents | Comments Off on Clean Power Technology Protection

Clean Power Technology Protection

As the pressure on “going green” increases internationally, eyes are turned to the protection of intellectual property and its mechanisms and particularly the question as to whether the World Trade Organization agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) should include special flexibilities for access and dissemination of environmental sound technologies such as they occur in the fields of health or nutrition and how can this be of benefit? It is argued that the IP system has been associated with some limitations with...

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Happy Birthday in Wonderland

Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Copyright, IPStell, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on Happy Birthday in Wonderland

Happy Birthday in Wonderland

Warner/Chappel Music, a music publishing company in the United States of America, claims and exerts copyright in the ubiquitous song “Happy Birthday to You”. It requires that royalty payments should be made to it each and every time this song is sung or used in public. This is a startling proposition as most people probably assume that the song is in the public domain and is free for use by all. An American documentary film maker agrees and is objecting to having to pay royalties to include the song in a film. It has consequently commenced...

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Brand Genocide

Posted by on May 26, 2013 in IPStell, Trade Marks | Comments Off on Brand Genocide

Brand Genocide

We all know GOOGLE. It is a facility that enables us to source information on the internet. The word GOOGLE indicates the identity of a particular service provider and distinguishes those services from similar services rendered by others, such as YAHOO. Each service provider designates its particular services by means of such a mark. The word GOOGLE is a brand or trade mark fulfilling its role as a “badge of origin”. It is exceptionally well known, world-wide. This renown or repute has been brought about by extensive public exposure of the...

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Letting the Copyright Cat Out Of The Bag

Posted by on Apr 22, 2013 in IPStell, Publications, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on Letting the Copyright Cat Out Of The Bag

Letting the Copyright Cat Out Of The Bag

The almost endless capacity of government to waste valuable resources by embarking on half-baked, and socially costly, ideas never ceases to amaze me.  What makes the situation deeply troubling (and, not just a little, ironic) is that they sometimes spend money employing consultants to tell them that they are wasting money on these enterprises.  If that were the extent of government’s failure in relation to its policy shortcomings, I could, perhaps, shrug my shoulders and attempt to be philosophical about such matters.  However, when...

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HOT OFF THE PRESSES – Sui Generis TK Bill Published In The Gazette

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in IPStell, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on HOT OFF THE PRESSES – Sui Generis TK Bill Published In The Gazette

HOT OFF THE PRESSES – Sui Generis TK Bill Published In The Gazette

Roll up and hear the good news! Today the new sui generis Protection of Traditional Knowledge Bill was published in the Government Gazette, signalling a major step toward the protection of traditional knowledge (TK) in South Africa. Full text of the Bill available here.  This Bill is based on the Protection of TK Bill drafted by the incumbent of the Stellenbosch Chair of IP Law (CIP), Prof Owen Dean, and was tabled in Parliament by Dr Wilmot James earlier this year amid widespread and serious criticism of Government’s current attempt at...

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Trampling Tradition – A Call For Support

Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 in IPStell, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on Trampling Tradition – A Call For Support

Trampling Tradition – A Call For Support

The Stellenbosch Chair of Intellectual Property (CIP) has repeatedly, thoroughly and honestly expressed its views on the proposed Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill (the Traditional Knowledge Bill) in no uncertain terms. Its labours have included extensive research on the consequences for our IP regime if it was to become law, the financial, legal and practical difficulties our legal system will face in its wake and the dismissive attitude of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry toward every legitimate concern from the...

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A Different Ball Game

Posted by on Feb 28, 2013 in IPStell, Trade Marks | Comments Off on A Different Ball Game

A Different Ball Game

Readers will have observed from perusing the articles on this blog that I have commented on a number of occasions on the proclaimed intention of the Government to pass legislation curtailing or prohibiting the use of trade marks on tobacco products, both on their packages and in advertising.  I have expressed the view that by so doing the Government will be depriving the trade mark owners of their valuable items of property which is at odds with Section 25 of the South African Constitution, unless compensation is paid for such depravation or...

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Beating About The Rooibos

Posted by on Feb 11, 2013 in Copyright, IPStell, Merchandise Marks, Trade Marks, Traditional Knowledge | 6 comments

Beating About The Rooibos

It is a fact of life that attempts have been made in certain other countries to usurp control of the term or mark ROOIBOS, despite the fact that it is a well-known South African description for a particular plant which gives rise to ROOIBOS tea.  The term ROOIBOS is as typically South African as “braaivleis” and “biltong”.  It is really part of our South African heritage.  The South African authorities have nonetheless taken no concrete or effective steps to protect and control the use of this term in South Africa or...

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“Awakening The Lion” – Portraying The Tip Of The Iceberg

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in Copyright, IPStell | Comments Off on “Awakening The Lion” – Portraying The Tip Of The Iceberg

“Awakening The Lion” – Portraying The Tip Of The Iceberg

Professor Owen Dean’s much anticipated book, “Awaking the Lion – The case of The Lion Sleeps Tonight” has been published by Tafelberg Publishers. It takes the form of a so-called “short” book and is only available electronically as an e-book from Amazon, Kobo, Kalahari and Leisure Books. The book tells the story behind the story of a copyright saga that made international headlines, and gives Prof Dean’s first-person account of the pioneering and proudly South African case that made legal history. It deals with the saga of...

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Braking With Tradition

Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 in IPStell, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on Braking With Tradition

Braking With Tradition

INTRODUCTION As will be apparent from perusing the articles posted on this blog indicated by the keywords “traditional knowledge”,  The Vine Oracle has been forthright in its criticism and condemnation of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill which seeks to introduce a special form of protection for so-called “traditional knowledge” into each of the Trade Marks, Copyright, Designs and Performance Protection Acts (the Bill is commonly known as the “Traditional Knowledge Bill”).  The...

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The Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO) Draft Statute

Posted by on Nov 2, 2012 in Copyright, Design, IPStell, Patents, Trade Marks, Traditional Knowledge | 1 comment

The Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO) Draft Statute

Introduction Because intellectual property rights are territorial in nature (i.e. they have to be recognised by the country in which protection is sought), since the expansion of cross-border trade in the 19th century, authors, creators, designers, inventors and traders have sought similar protection in other countries to that which they enjoy in their domestic legal systems, or, at least, be afforded the protection enjoyed by nationals of the foreign country.  This need initially gave rise to a number of bilateral agreements, and then...

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Fire Fighting

Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in IPStell, Trade Marks | Comments Off on Fire Fighting

Fire Fighting

Australia is notorious for being a country plagued by rampant bush fires.  Over the years, valuable agricultural land, forestry, residential areas and even towns have been threatened or wiped out by uncontrollable bush fires. These bush fires have given rise to considerable damage and even loss of life.  It is perhaps therefore not surprising that Australians should have a pathological fear of fire imbued in their psyches.  There is an involuntary will to fight fire whenever smoke appears. In a fresh desire to eradicate smoke by stamping...

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A New Tradition In Legislation

Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in IPStell, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on A New Tradition In Legislation

A New Tradition In Legislation

The South African government has created a new tradition in drafting and processing legislation through Parliament.  This tradition manifests itself in the drafting of half-baked legislation with little or no regard to the provisions of the Constitution and then fighting a huge public outcry against the legislation on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. In some instances the government  then concedes that aspects of the legislation are unconstitutional and it seeks to undertake the revision of that legislation on the floor of Parliament...

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IP Heirlooms – Testamentary Assignment of Digital Contents

Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in Copyright, IPStell | 1 comment

IP Heirlooms – Testamentary Assignment of Digital Contents

Recent media reports raised several questions about the transfer of so-called digital “property” by means of a testamentary bequest. These digital works include e-books, songs, videos, movies, applications and other forms of intellectual expression recorded in digital format and distributed to end-users by means of web traders such as Kalahari, Amazon and Apple iTunes. According to these reports, individuals who sought to provide for the transfer of their personal collections of digital works after their death found that the law does not...

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Friend or Foe? – Publicly Funded IP

Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in Copyright, Editorial, IPStell, Patents | Comments Off on Friend or Foe? – Publicly Funded IP

Friend or Foe? – Publicly Funded IP

The introduction of the new IPR from Publicly Funded Research and Development Act is a significant milestone in empowering local universities in their negotiations with industry partners around research funding and managing the results flowing out of such research.  The importance and value of intellectual property, which until recently was a vague term in the language of most academics, was highlighted and prominence was given to it at all levels of the University.  The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) made use of the opportunity to educate...

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Medals, Models & Moguls – The Fashion News Roundup

Posted by on Sep 19, 2012 in Ambush Marketing, Copyright, Design, IPStell, Trade Marks | Comments Off on Medals, Models & Moguls – The Fashion News Roundup

Medals, Models & Moguls – The Fashion News Roundup

In this special report, the VineOracle (IPStell’s personal pundit on all things IP) brings news (and her own brand of predictions) for the aesthetically minded visitor. And it is a star-studded cast of high-flyers (and fast swimmers) from Paris and New York representing some of the most exclusive brands. But do not be fooled by the A-list members on call, from what the VineOracle hears, these celebrities are prone to IP rights violations aplenty. Read on:   Michael Phelps caught double dipping on the IOC’s bill  The greatest Olympian...

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Patently Wrong – The jury’s verdict in Apple v Samsung

Posted by on Sep 17, 2012 in Copyright, Design, IPStell, Patents, Trade Marks | Comments Off on Patently Wrong – The jury’s verdict in Apple v Samsung

Patently Wrong – The jury’s verdict in Apple v Samsung

All is fair in love and (patent) war, but apparently not when it comes to awarding damages in patent litigation. After nearly 18 months of protracted trench-warfare between Apple and Samsung’s formidable IP legal teams in the Northern District Court of California, Judge Lucy Koh surrendered the matter to a panel of 9 laymen (and women). A mere 22 hours later the (well rested and fed) jury had finished studying Judge Koh’s 109 page instructions and 26 pages of the parties’ juror forms, answered all 56 factual and legal questions and...

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Form Over Function – ECJ Rules On Software Copyright

Posted by on Aug 3, 2012 in Copyright, IPStell | Comments Off on Form Over Function – ECJ Rules On Software Copyright

Form Over Function – ECJ Rules On Software Copyright

Seldom does a fact bear repeating as frequently as the maxim, “There is no copyright in ideas”. And despite the regularity with which this fundamental principle of copyright law is cited, its application remains a bone of contention. Since the Statute of Anne (1710), the common antecedent of modern copyright law, this creature of statute exists exclusively for the protection of the material expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas, facts or discoveries contained in the work. For this reason, copyright protection vests at the...

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Assignments of IP to non-residents: the amended Exchange Control Regulations

Posted by on Jul 3, 2012 in Copyright, Design, IPStell, Patents, Trade Marks | 1 comment

Assignments of IP to non-residents: the amended Exchange Control Regulations

The Exchange Control Regulations (the “Regulations”) have been amended with effect from 8 June 2012 (Government Gazette No. 35430) to provide that transfers of ownership of intellectual property from a South African resident to a non-resident now require prior Treasury approval.  While this amendment to the Regulations has drawn comments or criticisms from commentators, these have principally related to, inter alia, the apparent reversal of the stated policy of relaxing exchange controls or the alleged invalidity of the amendment.  In...

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From the horse’s MOUTH? – Government’s views on the National Anthem

Posted by on Jul 2, 2012 in Copyright, IPStell | Comments Off on From the horse’s MOUTH? – Government’s views on the National Anthem

From the horse’s MOUTH? – Government’s views on the National Anthem

Government, and more particularly the Departments of Trade and Industry and Arts and Culture, entered into the current controversy around the ownership of the copyright in the National Anthem by issuing a media release on 18 June 2012. With respect, its contribution to the debate evidences the same lack of knowledge and insight into Copyright Law that is apparent in its ill-conceived and executed Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill (the infamous so-called “Traditional Knowledge Bill”) In regard to the ownership and duration of...

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An Anthem To Ignorance – The Case Of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika

Posted by on Jun 18, 2012 in Copyright, IPStell | Comments Off on An Anthem To Ignorance – The Case Of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika

An Anthem To Ignorance – The Case Of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika

Articles dealing with Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika and claims by various parties that they hold copyright in it and are entitled to claim, and have claimed, royalties for its use and public performance appeared over the weekend of 17 June 2012 in City Press and Rapport, and possibly other newspapers.  These articles claimed that, unlike enterprising third parties, the South African Government has missed out on vast sums of money by way of royalties for use of the song such as at major international sports events. With respect, these articles are...

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The Pot Of Gold At The Beginning Of The Rainbow

Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Copyright, IPStell, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on The Pot Of Gold At The Beginning Of The Rainbow

The Pot Of Gold At The Beginning Of The Rainbow

The Iziko South African Art Gallery is currently featuring an expedition entitled “A Centenary Celebration of the life and work of Barbara Tyrrell”.  Barbara Tyrrell is a South African artist and author and the exhibition comprises a selection of over 150 of her highly decorative and accurate visual reproductions of Southern African tradition costumes and tribal dress, as well as items of adornment.   The various subject matters comprise traditional South African art works and are themselves copyright artistic works. During the 1950’s...

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GOLDEN OLDIES? – Gallo Music v Sting Music

Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Copyright, IPStell, Traditional Knowledge | 4 comments

GOLDEN OLDIES? – Gallo Music v Sting Music

Gallo Music and Sting Music have locked horns in the South Gauteng Division of the High Court over copyright in certain songs named Thula Baba, Unomathemba and Siliwelile.  Gallo claims that it owns the copyright in these songs and that Sting therefore required their authority to include them in the stage musical Umoja and that it is entitled to claim royalties arising out of the inclusion of these songs in the musical.  Sting, on the other hand, claims that the songs are traditional and therefore in the public domain with the result that...

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Popularisation of Intellectual Property

Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 in Copyright, IPStell, Patents, Trade Marks | Comments Off on Popularisation of Intellectual Property

Popularisation of Intellectual Property

INTRODUCTION Intellectual property is commonly regarded as an esoteric branch of the law.  It is characterised by being complex and until recently it has been a little understood and somewhat discrete area of the law.  Its complexity stems from the fact that it has as its subject matter intangible items such as marks, ideas, concepts, goodwill, cultural expressions and the like.  This must be contrasted with tangible goods like vehicles, ships, equipment, household goods, and immovable items such as portions of land, all of which have a...

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The Numbers Game – Trade Marks and Domain Names

Posted by on Apr 29, 2012 in IPStell, Trade Marks | Comments Off on The Numbers Game – Trade Marks and Domain Names

The Numbers Game – Trade Marks and Domain Names

On the Internet there is only one thing that really matters – prominence. It is the nexus of all factors that drive the ever-expanding cyberspace. In this world, the attention span of every visitor is measured in seconds, and the amount of traffic to a specific website measured with scientific precision. It is, therefore, not surprising (and a cause for concern) that trade marks are set to become a casualty in the battle for online supremacy. The fact that trade mark infringement on the Internet is a present danger is not new. However, few...

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Quo Vadis Copyright?

Posted by on Apr 23, 2012 in Copyright, IPStell, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on Quo Vadis Copyright?

Quo Vadis Copyright?

Copyright law had its origins in the 18th Century when the need was felt to protect the investment of printers in carrying out the new-fangled process of mass production of books. Its ambit was extended over the years to cover additional forms of works such as musical and artistic works and then in the 20th Century a major quantum leap was made and work such as sound recordings, published editions, television broadcasts and others were brought within its ambit.  Throughout the ages, copyright has shown an ability and a willingness to adapt to...

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Trade Marks Going Up In Smoke

Posted by on Apr 20, 2012 in IPStell, Trade Marks | Comments Off on Trade Marks Going Up In Smoke

Trade Marks Going Up In Smoke

The age old proverb says “there is no smoke without fire”.  The legislatures of several countries are about to turn this proverb on its head.  The anti-smoking lobby has gained such strength in these countries that the fire brands of the anti-smoking lobby with their fiery rhetoric have moved governments to do their utmost to achieve the demise of smoking as a social practise. These campaigns have resulted in fire generating no smoking.  It is not the objective of the Vine Oracle to debate the merits or demerits of such a policy.  The...

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Public Outcry Against US Bills Felt Across The Globe

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012 in Copyright, Editorial, IPStell, Patents, Trade Marks | Comments Off on Public Outcry Against US Bills Felt Across The Globe

Public Outcry Against US Bills Felt Across The Globe

Two related United States Bills were recently the topics of much controversy.  Public outcries and widespread online protests were followed by an unprecedented Internet blackout on 18 January 2012.  The Internet blackout was supported by the likes of Google, Facebook, Reddit and Wikipedia to name but a few.  The blackout was not only supported by the Internet high-and-mighties, but also thousands of lesser known sites rallying their users’ support against the Bills.  Such was the nature of the blackout that Wikipedia, for example, took...

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To publish or not to publish, that is the question

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012 in Editorial, IPStell, Patents | Comments Off on To publish or not to publish, that is the question

To publish or not to publish, that is the question

We are all familiar with the old academic adage, “publish or perish”, but when commercialisable research outputs have associated potential intellectual property, any published or presented outputs from the research prior to filing patent applications can result in a minefield for the patent applicant. There are two important intrinsic requirements for obtaining a patent for an invention in most countries in the world, the first is that the invention must be new and the second is that the invention must be inventive or non-obvious.  In...

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Recipe Patents

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012 in Editorial, IPStell, Patents | Comments Off on Recipe Patents

Recipe Patents

Can Food Recipes be Patented in South Africa? Cookery has become one of the most popular past times of the last few years.  This is illustrated by the enormous popularity of TV shows such as “Masterchef” and “Come Dine with Me”; and cookbooks by celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson. This leads to an interesting question – Can food recipes be patented in South Africa? To answer this it is necessary, as with any invention, to look into the statutory requirements for patentability. No matter how delicious the...

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Advertising Slogans – Woolworths v Frankies

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012 in Editorial, IPStell, Trade Marks | Comments Off on Advertising Slogans – Woolworths v Frankies

Advertising Slogans – Woolworths v Frankies

The Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) has ruled that retailer Woolworths must stop using the phrase GOOD OLD FASHIONED as it imitates beverage manufacturer’s “GOOD OLD FASHIONED SOFT DRINKS” advertising slogan. In 2006, beverage manufacturer Frankie’s Olde Soft Drinks (“Frankies”) launched its FRANKIES range of drinks. The range was based on “vintage” flavouring, which was emphasised in all promotional material through the use of the slogan “GOOD OLD FASHIONED”.  The slogan appeared on all point of sale and...

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NEW Traditional Knowledge Bill – Sui Generis Protection for TK

Posted by on Feb 27, 2012 in IPStell, Publications, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on NEW Traditional Knowledge Bill – Sui Generis Protection for TK

NEW Traditional Knowledge Bill – Sui Generis Protection for TK

If you cannot beat them, join them. For that reason this Chair of IP has decided to announce a NEW sui generis Protection of Traditional Knowledge Bill in the hope that something may yet be done to save us all. Government’s current attempt at protecting traditional knowledge by amending current IP statutes remains an unmitigated disaster, the scope of which is yet to be fully realised. This Chair, among many others, has expressed its distress at the current Traditional Knowledge Bill (likely to be the Protection of Traditional Knowledge...

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The press(ing) matter – plagiarism and copyright infringement

Posted by on Feb 2, 2012 in Copyright, IPStell | Comments Off on The press(ing) matter – plagiarism and copyright infringement

The press(ing) matter – plagiarism and copyright infringement

A journalist who cannot define plagiarism is nearly as useful as a bucket without a bottom. Similarly, while the nation is expected to rise in defence of the independence of the press (and rightly so), one might be excused for thinking that all members of the media are capable of independent thought. Unfortunately, judging by recent commentary on the SA Press Code, the captains of our printed media understand as little about plagiarism as the ruling party does about intellectual property law. While addressing a hearing of the Press Freedom...

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How Intellectual Property Law Applies To Sport

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in Copyright, Design, IPStell, Trade Marks | 5 comments

How Intellectual Property Law Applies To Sport

Major sports are big business and vast sums of money are involved in staging sport events. This global trend was brought into sharp focus in South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which provided an excellent example of the role that branding plays in major sports, both generally and more especially in South Africa., explains how best the law can be applied to benefit everyone involved. A long established organisation, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has developed a very clear policy for protection of brands...

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The Great Pharmaceutical Patent Debate

Posted by on Nov 18, 2011 in IPStell, Patents | Comments Off on The Great Pharmaceutical Patent Debate

The Great Pharmaceutical Patent Debate

In recent news, the TAC (Treatment Action Campaign) has called on government to revise the Patents Act to reduce the patent protection available to pharmaceutical inventions, which the organisation believes is responsible for the high cost of medicines and a delay in the availability of generic medicines. The organisation refers to the Doha Declaration, which has been signed by South Africa as a member of the World Trade Organisation, to support its call. “Government has not yet been proactive in utilising these mechanisms” There is no...

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The Mad Hatter in Wonderland

Posted by on Nov 1, 2011 in IPStell, Traditional Knowledge | Comments Off on The Mad Hatter in Wonderland

The Mad Hatter in Wonderland

So, the Department of Trade and Industry (“DTI”) has finally gone ahead and done it.  It has caused the Government to pass the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill (the so-called “Traditional Knowledge Bill”) despite vociferous objections from all quarters.  It has rushed headlong into terrain where no angel would venture through acute trepidation.  It has entered Wonderland and assumed the role of the Mad Hatter.  ”rushed headlong into terrain where no angel would venture through acute trepidation” The Vine Oracle (that...

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Copyright: The Photographers Plight

Posted by on Oct 15, 2011 in Copyright, IPStell | Comments Off on Copyright: The Photographers Plight

Copyright: The Photographers Plight

The Vine Oracle recently chatted to a professional photographer and had occasion to reflect on the treatment meted out to this group by our Copyright law. Apparently freelance photography in South Africa is not the lucrative business it appears to be– quite the contrary. Copyright is supposed to allow creators of original works to make money by commercialising their works. Copyright is failing freelance photographers on this count. Why you ask? Remember that copyright comes into being automatically (provided of course the other requirements...

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ACTA – a sting in the tail for IP rights enforcement

Posted by on Oct 7, 2011 in Copyright, IPStell, Patents, Trade Marks | 2 comments

ACTA – a sting in the tail for IP rights enforcement

Surreptitious negotiations, covert drafts, leaked documents and swift announcements at the eleventh-hour – such is the stranger-than-fiction story of the ‘Piracy Treaty’ signed by several world powers in the past week. Amid controversy about the autocratic role of the USA in the drafting process, and the not-so-voluntary gist of the treaty, most of the Allied Powers have signed the treaty, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The other signatories are Japan, South Korea, Morocco and Singapore, while the EU, Mexico and Switzerland...

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