Prof Owen Dean

Professor en Leerstoel in Intellektuele Goederereg / Professor and Chair of Intellectual Property Law

BA LLB LLD (Stell)




Prof Owen Dean holds the degrees B.A (Law), LL.B and LL.D obtained from the University of Stellenbosch in, respectively, 1964, 1966 and 1989. Admitted to practice as an attorney in South Africa in 1974. Also admitted as an attorney in Namibia and Botswana.

A previous Senior Partner, presently a consultant, of Spoor and Fisher, leading Intellectual Property Attorneys. Personal fields of specialisation include trade mark and copyright law with a special emphasis on litigation and opinion work. Served on the Government’s Advisory Committee on Intellectual Property Law for twenty years and as Chairman of the Copyright Sub-Committee of that Committee. A Past President of the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law. Conceived, and chaired the Drafting Committee of, the Counterfeit Goods Act. Conceived and drafted Section 15A of the Merchandise Marks Act (ambush marketing).

Author of “Handbook of South African Copyright Law”, author of chapter on “South Africa” in “International Privacy, Publicity and Personality Laws” edited by Michael Henry. Author of chapter on “South Africa” in “Copyright: World Law and Practice” edited by Morag McDonald, Uma Suthersanen and Cristina Garrigues. Co-author of the title “Copyright” in “Butterworths Forms and Precedents“.

Served as a member of the international editorial boards of “Copyright World” and “Entertainment Law Review”. Has published articles in, inter alia, the following journals: Trademark World, Copyright World, Managing Intellectual Property, European Intellectual Property Review (EIPR), Entertainment Law Review, Canadian Intellectual Property Review, De Rebus, Tydskrif van die Hedendaagse Romeins Hollands Reg, South African Law Journal, Businessman’s Law, Stellenbosch Law Review, SA Mercantile Law Journal, Juta’s Business Law, Responsa Meridiana, and Encyclopaedia of Brands and Branding.

A frequent speaker on intellectual property matters at seminars and conferences, including at international meetings organised by International Trademarks Association (INTA), Institute of Trademark Agencies (ITMA), and International Association of Entertainment Lawyers. Has lectured on intellectual property law at the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Cape Town, Rhodes University, University of Stellenbosch, and the Rand Afrikaans University (now named Johannesburg University).

Appointed to Panel of Adjudicators for South African Domain Name Disputes, WIPO Panel of Arbitrators for Domain Name Disputes, Stellenbosch University Business School Panel of Mediators and IP Panel of Arbitration Federation of South Africa (AFSA).

Listed as a Senior Statesman of Intellectual Property and a Key Individual of Spoor & Fisher by Chambers and Partners in 2012 in the Global-Wide and Pan-Regional Sections of the Chambers Global Ranking.

With effect from 2011 appointed as a Professor at the Law Faculty at Stellenbosch University where he was the incumbent of the Anton Mostert Chair of Intellectual Property Law until 2015.

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Modules offered

Publikasies / Publications



BUTTERWORTHS’ FORMS AND PRECEDENTS – Copyright (Published by Butterworths, 1991)

P. Loots, CONSTRUCTION LAW AND RELATED ISSUES – Chapter on Copyright (Published by Juta, 1995)

Macdonald, Suthersanen and Garrigues, COPYRIGHT: WORLD LAW & PRACTICE – Chapter on South Africa (Published by Thompson/Sweet & Maxwell, 2004)



A perspective on intellectual property. 2009, p34-36

Ambush marketing – virtue or vice? 2007, 58-61

Keep the trade mark assignment baby when throwing out the bath water. 2004, p71-75

Sponsorship under attack by ambush marketing. 2002, p33-37

The outlook for trademarks into the third millennium. 2000, 54-62

The value and valuation of trademarks. 1998, 19-21


Art: Is it really yours? Copyright in paintings. Vol 9, 1979, p33-34

The employee and the copyright act. Vol 9, 1979, p71-72

The Copyright Act and the creative person – I: The background to copyright. Vol 8, 1979, p153-172

The Copyright Act and the creative person – II: The Author and copyright. Vol 8, 1979, p171-172

The Copyright Act and the creative person – III: Works that enjoy copyright. Vol 8, 1979, p188-190

The Copyright Act and the creative person – IV: Aspects of copyright. Vol 8, 1979, p237-190

The Copyright Act and the creative person – V: Rights of the author. Vol 9, 1980, p20-22

Another Copyright Pitfall. Vol 9, 1980, p159-160

Copyrights in employees’ works. Vol 11, 1981, p41-42

Piracy of cinematograph films. Vol 11, 1981, p61-63

Piracy of cinematograph films – II. Vol 11, 1982, p101-102

SA’s constitutional future. Vol 15, 1985, p14

What is worth copying is worth protecting. Vol 15, 1985, p73-74

Trading in parallel imports: grey goods. Vol 15, 1986, p150-106

Anton Piller orders: Recognition in South Africa. Vol 15, 1986, p186-188

Infringement: Parallel importation and trademark infringement. Vol 17, 1987, p3-5

Stealing foreign fruits – I: Passing-off.Vol 19, 1989, p7-9

Stealing foreign fruits – II: Trade-mark and copyright infringement. Vol 19, 1989, p63-66

Unlawful Competition: The roles of wrongfulness and dishonesty. Vol 20, 1990, p16-18

Copying industrial products – II: Unlawful competition. Vol 19, 1990, p187-190

Copying industrial products – I: Protection under copyright Vol 19, 1990, p159-162

The Draft Design Bill, 1992: The registrable designs Vol 21, 1991, p22-24

Innovations in copyright – The New Amendment Bill Vol 21, 1991, p 67

Copying industrial products. Sitting on a stolen design: the copyright angle Vol 20, 1991, p141-143

Copying industrial products. Unlawful competition in the Bress Designs case Vol 20, 1991, p177-180

Copyright protection as a literary or artistic work Vol 21, 1992, p138-140

Who owns the soul of a painting? Two distinct forms of Property Vol 21, 1992, p 243


Design Copyright in South Africa, 1989 p, 343,


Unlawful competition – A substitute for infringement of copyright in technical works? Iss 9, Mar/Apr 1990, p21-24

South Africa Amends Copyright Act Iss 23, Jul/Aug 1992, p38-43

Infringement of copyright by dealing in parallel imports: Application of the principle in recent South African, Australian and Singapore cases Iss 41, Jun 1994, p19-26

Protection of the author’s moral rights in South Africa Iss 59, Apr 1996, p38-44

Sound recordings in South Africa – the Cinderella of the copyright family Iss 34, Oct 1998,  p18-23

Return of the Lion: South African Litigation over “the Leon Sleeps Tonight” Iss 165, Nov 2006, p23-24


Affidavits executed abroad for use in South Africa Aug 1973, p323-326

Registration of copyright in Cinematograph Film Act Nov 1977, p701-703

Changes to the law of copyright brought by the Copyright Act 98 of 1978 Apr 1979, p192-193

Registration of copyright in cinematography films Aug 1981, p370-373

Copyright Amendment Act, 1983. Protection of industrial and technical works Mar 1984, p114-115

Copyright infringement as a criminal offence Mar 1988, p203-210

The great copyright controversy Jul 1988, p469-474

Caveat disinvestor Jul 1989, p511-514

Copyright Amendment Act, 1992 Oct 1992, p755-760

Sound recordings in South Africa: the Cinderella of the copyright family Oct 1993, p913-917

Game, set and match to McDonald’s Nov 1996, p753-757

Ambush marketing Jun 2000, p24-28

Ambush marketing and protected events Nov 2003, p20-23

Trade mark dilution laughed off Oct 2005, p18-22

Stalking the sleeping lion Jul 2006, p16-21

Traditional knowledge subverts intellectual principles Jul 2009, p7

Treasure trove raiders Nov 2009, p24-26

Ambush marketing and the FIFA 2010 World Cup Jun 2010, p16-20


South African case law on the infringement of copyright by parallel importation Vol 7, 1983, p190-194

Universal City Studios v Network Video Recognition of ‘Anton Piller’ orders in South Africa Vol 8, Jul 1986, p218-219

McDonald’s trade mark: ‘Ex Africa semper aliquid novi’ Vol 12, 1996, p683-691


The implications for the entertainment industry of proposed amendments to the South African Copyright Act Vol 2, Iss 6, 1991, p197-200

Parallel importation of artistic works: P Frank & Hirsch(Pty) Limited v A Roopanand Brothers (Pty) Limited News item, Vol 4, Iss 5, 1993, pE99-101

Creation of Independent Broadcasting Authority News item, Vol 4, Iss 6, 1993, pE117-119

The layout of the pages of a diary do not qualify for copyright either as a literary work of as an artistic work News Section, Vol 6, Iss 6, 1995, pE81-81

Video games constitute “cinematograph films”: Golden China TV Centre v Nintendo Co News item, Vol 8, Iss 1, 1997, pE11-12

The layout of the pages of a diary do not qualify for copyright either as a literary work of as an artistic work News item, Vol 6, Iss 6, 1995, pE81-81


Parallel imports Vol 10, Pt 2, 2002, p74-77

A unified intellectual property law system for southern Africa. Part 1: International arrangeme4nts and European conventions Vol 2, Pt 3, 1994, p111-114

A unified intellectual property law system for southern Africa. Part 2: Multinational registrations in Africa Vol 2, Pt 4, 1994, p165-169


The future of South African trademarks Mar 1998, p50-53

Watch out for compulsory licences! Feb 1992, p46-47

A grey goods guide to South Africa Feb 2001, p43-45

FIFA wins first 2010 ambush marketing ruling Jun 2009, p49


Protection of the author’s moral rights in South Africa Vol 7, 1995, p73-83

McDonald’s turns the tables on trade-mark hijackers Vol 8, 1996, p408-423

The Counterfeit Goods Act 37 of 1997 Vol 10, 1998, p33-57

Quo Vadis South African Trade Marks? Vol 10, 1998, p89-110


Copyright v grey goods in South Africa, Australia and Singapore 1994, Vol 3, p746-758

Account of profits in South African copyright law 1986, Vol 103, p103-117

Parallel importation-infringement of copyright Centenary volume, 1983,  p258-277


Reproduction of three-dimensional utilitarian objects- copyright infringement and unlawful competition Vol 1, No 1, 1990, p49-66

Protection of computer programs by copyright in South Africa Vol 6, No 1, 1995, p86-96

Intellectual property and comparative advertising Vol 7, No 1, 1996, p25-36


The case for the recognition of intellectual property in the Bill of rights Vol 60, 1997, 105-119


Parallel importation and trademark infringement Oct 1987, p50-52


Articles have been published in the following magazines/newspapers:

Without Prejudice; Financial Mail; Finweek; Noseweek, Finansies en Tegniek, Business Day, Pretoria News.


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