The study of intellectual property is strengthened with the creation of the Anton Mostert Chair of Intellectual Property Law in the Faculty of Law at Stellenbosch University (SU). Dr Johann Rupert, Chancellor of SU and the Executive Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Richemont, donated the Chair in 2010.

Prof Owen Dean, a leading expert in the field of Intellectual Property Law and practice in South Africa, was the first incumbent of the Chair and was succeed by Prof Sadulla Karjiker in 2016.

The Chair is named in honour of the late Judge Anton Mostert, one of the youngest people to be appointed as a judge (in 1977) of the then Supreme Court. He was appointed to lead a commission of inquiry into foreign exchange dealings and control in 1978. He would eventually expose large-scale corruption in government circles, later known as the Information Scandal, in the then Department of Information. After his disclosures, the Commission of Inquiry was disbanded and he was thus removed from his position as Commissioner. He returned to the Bar in 1980 and practised as an advocate until his death.

“Anton Mostert lived out the courage of his convictions and his high moral values, despite the personal stress, public denunciation and negative consequences for his career as a result of his disclosures. He announced the information at a press conference in the interests of justice, despite the instruction from the then State President to suppress his findings, and this led to the resignation of a number of senior members of government,” said Dr Rupert.

Dr Johann Rupert – Chancellor of SU

Prof Gerhard Lubbe, Dean of the Faculty of Law in 2010, confirmed that Anton Mostert’s characteristics provide an example for the Chair that is worth following and that reflect the values of the Faculty. His unyielding honesty and action serve as a lesson for all who attach value to freedom under the law.

“Although Intellectual Property Law is taught in South African law faculties, there is a lack of high-level, research-driven emphasis in the field. With a view to the demands of a globalised world economy, the Chair will make a unique contribution – particularly in relation to the implementation and functioning of intellectual property law in the international context and the challenge posed by a borderless world of internet-based digital communication to traditional views on intellectual property,” said Prof Lubbe. “This approach is relevant to current challenges, and links to the contributions of the Rupert family to the development of this dynamic field of law over a long period of time.”

The Chair furthermore entails capacity building through undergraduate and postgraduate legal training and the development of expertise in intellectual property law among non-lawyers, such as businesspeople, computer programmers and artists, and an involvement in legal development and reform, both nationally and internationally.

“In this manner, the Chair will make a fundamental contribution to the discourse on Intellectual Property Law and thereby to the excellence of the Faculty in the spheres of research, teaching and community interaction,” said Prof Lubbe.


Opening session of the International Intellectual Property Law Conference, the launch of the Chair of IP:


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