Intellectual property(IP)

by David Bernstein

This article contains important information regarding Intellectual Property


i. Reward and compensate creative individuals.
ii. Qualified monopoly to enable creative individuals to gather “commercial fruits” accruing by reason of their talent/labours.
iii. Benefit society by encouraging creative individuals to develop additional intellectual products which ultimately encourage future progress and development
iv. IP is an important business asset:
· Commercial exploitation of which underpins and compliments successful and aggressive marketing and brand awareness campaigns;
· Culminating in achieving a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
v. IP is multi-faceted, of underrated strategic value and, if properly exploited, serves as a mechanism to:
· Successfully launch new products/services in unchartered territories;
· Examine merger opportunities;
· Block/frustrate competitors;
· Financing or investment (once valued).
What is a trade mark and how does it function?
i. A brand?
ii. A badge of origin?
iii. A badge of quality?
iv. An advertising device?
v. Capability of distinguishing? Inherently capable
    By reason of prior use
vi. “New Act” – Trade Marks Act No 1993 of 1993 :
  A ‘mark’ is defined broadly in the Act as any sign capable of being represented graphically, including a device, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, shape, configuration, pattern, ornamentation, colour or container for goods or any combination of the aforesaid – (not exhaustive).
v. Options to consider for gaining maximum benefit/competitive advantage in the marketplace:
a. Colours or combinations: thereof BOXER gold; Europe – BP green for petrol services ; UK – CADBURY purple for chocolate; UK – BARCLAYS turquoise for banking services.
c. Acronyms : KFC; SAA; IBM.
d. Celebrity Names, Photos, Gestures and Signatures : Lennox Lewis; Bobby Skinstad; Mick Jagger; David Beckham; Pierre Cardin.
e. Sounds : MGM roaring lion; Musical jingles.
f. Smells : Europe – smell of roses for tyres; Smell of bitter beers for darts; Smell of fresh cut grass for tennis balls under the mark SCENTER COURT.
g. Shapes : Perfume bottles; Pen cap by BIC; WEBER braai.
h. Packaging and “get-up” : Labels, logos or devices e.g. NIKE tick.
What is a patent?
Any new invention which involves an inventive step and which is capable of being used or applied in trade or industry or agriculture.