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The South African patents system is governed by the Patents Act, 1978 which affords protection to patents for inventions (including patents of addition). The absence of novelty vitiates a patent absolutely in South Africa and protection is refused obvious inventions. Unless a complete specification is filed in the first instance a priority date is established by an application accompanied by a provisional specification. Applicants deciding to pursue protection thereafter must file a fresh application accompanied by a complete specification within fifteen months of the date of filing of the provisional application claiming priority from that date. Examination is to form only and no examination on the merits takes place. The patent term is twenty years from the date of filing of the complete specification. A patent must be renewed every year from the fourth, following the filing date. For more information please click here.
Trade mark prosecution
The Trade Marks Act, 1993 (as amended) governs the South African trade mark registration system. Distinctive signs of all kinds and descriptions which are capable of graphical representation are registrable as trade marks. The
Copyright is conferred by the Copyright Act, 1978 without registration
The Designs Act, 1993 provides protection to aesthetic and functional designs through registration. Functional designs have features which are necessitated by the function which the article to which the design is applied is to perform and includes integrated circuit topography and mask works related thereto. Aesthetic designs relate to designs applied to articles of manufacture because of the pattern, shape, configuration or ornamentation of the design which is judged solely by the eye. Aesthetic designs must be new and original while functional designs must be new and not commonplace. For more information please click here.
Plant Breeder’s Rights
South Africa is the only country on the continent of Africa which is a member of the UPOV Convention. This has the effect that South Africa is bound to give protection to Plant Breeders’ Rights of nationals of other continents of the world, whilst the rest of the countries on the African continent are not. The rights cover propagating material for the relevant
Protecting Biotechnological Intellectual
Copies of these articles are available on request to
A Counterfeit Goods Act provides enhanced means for dealing with counterfeit goods, especially at ports of entry to South Africa. The Merchandise Marks Act, 1941 deals with prohibited marks, the marking and covering of merchandise and false trade descriptions and marks.
Hahn & Hahn prides itself on its many international clients and to facilitate relations with our clients we are able to communicate in English, German, French, Korean, Dutch, Polish and Czech. Hahn & Hahn also provides sworn translation services for translations from and to, French and German.
Apart from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) requirements, significant tax advantages may be
Whilst companies often spend considerable amounts on securing intellectual property rights, experience has shown that a proper valuation of such intellectual property, in
Furthermore, the valuation of a company’s intellectual property will often bridge the gap that typically exists between the marketing and
Please note that our IP valuation service is available to clients all over the world.
Hahn & Hahn has over 60 years experience in all aspects of IP litigation including infringement and validity cases for patents, trade marks
- Patent Infringement and Validity of Granted Patents
1.1 Infringement and Defences Thereto In order to be successful in an infringement matter in South Africa a patentee must show that an infringing device, system, apparatus, or method includes all of the essential integers of at least one independent claim of a patent.
Furthermore, an infringer can counterclaim that the patent in question is invalid and request the Commissioner of Patents to revoke a granted patent.
The patentee may, where there is
An infringement case is heard by the Court of the Commissioner of Patents, a division of the High Court, and may be brought either by way of Summons where damages are sought and will require oral evidence to be led, or by way of Motion where only an interdict, whether urgent, interim, or final, is sought in which case the evidence is by way of Affidavit in most cases. An action brought by way of Summons may take anywhere from 6 to 18 months before it is heard by the court of
It is usual to appoint counsel (barristers) to assist in the litigation. Depending on the complexity of the matter, both a junior and a senior counsel may be appointed. Thus it is not unusual for a matter in which only a junior counsel is employed to cost between EUR25000 and EUR62500 in the court of
In an infringement action, besides an interdict, the court may award damages, or reasonable royalties in lieu of damages, and a portion of the costs in
In order to be valid, the claims of a South African Patent must be novel and inventive and all formal requirements ought to have been complied with.
The novelty requirement is an absolute requirement i.e. an invention as claimed should be new anywhere in the world, not just in South Africa.
Likewise, the inventive step requirement is an absolute one.
The South African Patent Office is a non-examining office and all patent applications which meet the formal requirements are granted.
It is not normal practice for Patent Attorneys to conduct patent searches for clients unless specifically instructed to do so as the costs of the searches would often exceed the costs of preparing and filing the patent several
Furthermore, the South African Patent Office records are in a complete disarray and it is not possible to conduct a reliable search for South African Patents at the South African Patent Office.
Yet further, international databases which may be searched cover only the major countries of the world and have only scant information on South Africa, especially data prior to 1994. Thus, even an extensive international patent search does not have a guaranteed accuracy and it is internationally accepted that, despite the high cists thereof, database searches have an accuracy of around 60%.
The validity of a granted patent may only be challenged by way of an Application for Revocation before the Court of the Commissioner of Patents and again, depending on the complexity of the matter, both a junior and a senior counsel may be appointed. Thus it is not unusual for a matter in which only a junior counsel is employed to cost between EUR25000 and EUR62500 in the court of
Domain Dispute Resolution
Vanessa Lawrance, Janusz Luterek, and Victor Williams have been appointed as adjudicators on the ZA Domain Name Authority domain name dispute resolution panel with Alan Dunlop, Janusz Luterek and Victor Williams being appointed as Senior Adjudicators. For more information on lodging a dispute with the Domain Name Authority regarding a .co.za domain name please see www.domaindisputes.co.za. Where we are not acting as adjudicators we are able to represent clients in such disputes.