Insider Views: The IP Law short course a resounding success

Posted on Aug 1, 2012

Insider Views: The IP Law short course a resounding success

There is a saying that goes: “The past is history, the future hasn’t come yet so live for the moment.” After this week I totally disagree. IP is the future.

This pioneering short course was a combined effort of The Anton Mostert Chair of Intellectual Property at Stellenbosch University and the Law@Work Professional Development Project of the Law Faculty at the University of Cape Town. The joint presentation was at the outset a challenge – several contracts between the two universities were required for the course to be presented.  The accreditation process for the course was not straightforward (there was a lot of tiresome red tape, amongst others, having to register this course nationally, which was a huge task), but when the  administrative difficulties were over and done with, the ball was set rolling for a world-class and unique experience.

Throughout the three days of the course I realized that IP is like an umbrella, with its protective function. Protection must be comprehensive because IP is as important as your family. No one would like their family life to be violated and that is why it is important to protect their intellectual creations against violations (whether patent, copyright or trademark violations).

The concept of IP absolutely exploded in the late 1980’s and beyond. South Africans have a great love for sport. An example: If it was not for intellectual property, the Soccer World Cup could never have taken place. Sponsorships, the lifeblood of major sports events, could not operate and survive without IP, across the spectrum of Trade Marks, Advertising, Patent, Copyright  and Designs.

Copyright is particularly significant. Works that enjoy copyright protection can be divided in two main categories, namely Literary works and Artistic works. Prof Dean gave a clear and easily understandable exposition of Copyright.

The Digital Environment is something no one can ignore  these days. I was surprised to hear that even the smallest details of your computer and its software can be protected and therefore can be the subject of rights owned by someone. If you need more information you should contact Cobus Jooste or Sadulla Karijiker, who will gladly explain more. Their knowledge of their subject astounded me. They were also very good at explaining a complicated concept in a way that all the attendees could understand – the essence of  good educators.

Traditional Knowledge is a topic that I never thought to be part of IP (in my ignorance I thought it was in the public domain!), but it is also something that perhaps needs protection. The practical aspects of how to licence your brand or trademark were very interesting. If you are properly advised by your lawyer your IP can generate a lot of money, or, conversely, if it is not properly managed, you might forfeit the opportunity of making a lot of money.

Attending the course was an honour and a privilege. Next year I propose to attend the Diploma course that will be presented by the Anton Mostert Chair. If I had not attended this short course I would not even have contemplated attending the Diploma course, but the short course opened my eyes to many things and really inspired me to learn more about IP.  I really believe there are many other people that attended the course who feel the same way.

Congratulations to Prof Dean, the presenters and organisers of this excellent course. It  was an absolute world- class performance.

Annette van Tonder


The short course met with great enthusiasm among the attendees, which included delegates from the Department of Arts and Culture, the Bar, Academia, Media24, Juta, Anglo American, Foschini Group, SKA South Africa, Engen, Eskom, SA Weather Service, Capespan, ArmsCor, The Namibian Ministry of Justice, MWeb, De Beers and Woolworths.


Annette van Tonder (US), Lee-Ann Tong (UCT), Prof Owen Dean (US), Prof Julian Kinderlerer (UCT)

Lee-Ann Tong (UCT), Don MacRobert (ENS), Prof Owen Dean (US)


OTHER OPINIONS (from the course evaluation forms):

“I found the course very fulfilling and instructive and can recommend it to anyone who wishes to have a general overview and understanding of what IP Law is all about.”
“I commend both UCT and US for a well-coordinated programme. I also wish to commend the organisers of the course not only for choosing professionals who understand their fields of expertise, but for the professional manner in which they went about with the organisational aspect of the programme.”
“The course exceeded my expectations and piqued my interest in areas of IP that I do not work with.”
“All speakers were very knowledgeable and it’s great that they are passionate about their specialist fields. The constant use of practical examples and real cases was great. The course exceeded my expectations. A big thank you to organisers and speakers.”
“The course was awesome! Thanks! I really enjoyed it.”
“Packed with a lot of useful information … It was generally very informative, exciting and stimulating … Really it was money well spent. Keep it up.”