Latest updates

Court upholds Nivea Men passing-off claim
Spoor & Fisher
  • Intellectual Property
  • South Africa
  • 24 May 2021

The Supreme Court of Appeal recently found in favour of Beiersdorf AG, which had claimed that the shower gel product Connie Men passed off its Nivea Men product due to various similarities in the products' packaging. While most of the judges had no difficulty in establishing passing off, one judge issued a long and robust dissenting judgment, which serves as a reminder that trademark owners should register entire product labels rather than rely on the difficult action of passing off.

Should TRIPS waivers be used to resolve vaccine inequality?
Spoor & Fisher
  • Intellectual Property
  • South Africa
  • 17 May 2021

Amid growing calls for vaccine equity, South Africa and India have proposed the suspension of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rationale behind the proposal is that if patent rights were waived, this would result in increased supply and expedited roll-out of vaccines. However, the counterargument is that South Africa can use the mechanisms that already exist in the TRIPS agreement.

Supreme Court of Appeal makes rare patent judgment
Spoor & Fisher
  • Intellectual Property
  • South Africa
  • 10 May 2021

The Supreme Court of Appeal recently handed down a rare patent judgment in a case in which a patent infringement claim had been met by an attack on the validity of the patent. The issue in this case was whether a patent relating to the mounting of a radar system on a motorised automobile vehicle was valid, given that the same radar system had previously been mounted on a trailer hitched to a vehicle. The court held that the patent did not "disclose any advance in radar technology".

IP success for shoe brand Bathu
Spoor & Fisher
  • Intellectual Property
  • South Africa
  • 05 April 2021

Proudly South African trainer brand Bathu is not only becoming a beloved household name, but also building a legacy that will last. The brand has arguably captured consumers' attention by ticking all of the boxes of a Western trainer brand while simultaneously presenting an African-centric narrative. This article explores how Bathu is successfully protecting its intellectual property and, in doing so, building a sustainable and financially viable business.

Intellectual property: the lesser-known actor in film making
Spoor & Fisher
  • Intellectual Property
  • South Africa
  • 15 February 2021

In the film industry a lesser-known actor, so to speak, is intellectual property. This article explains the ins and outs of creative rights in the film industry. Film makers must be able to prove that they own all of the rights to every piece of content in their film. If film makers did not originally create something, they will need a document showing that they have authority (usually ownership of all rights, including in particular, copyright) of use and copying.

Wine as case study for diverse IP rights
Spoor & Fisher
  • Intellectual Property
  • South Africa
  • 23 November 2020

With regard to the IP rights that exist in viticulture and viniculture, winemaking provides a comprehensive case study when unpacking plant breeders' rights, registered designs, patents and trademarks. At each step of the winemaking process, products of the human intellect or creations of the mind are at play. This is exciting, but contains a worthwhile lesson for those developing or manufacturing a product: there are IP rights that come into existence and they may require legal protection.

Spoor & Fisher
Spoor & Fisher