Intellectual Property Attorneys
Patents, Registered Designs, Trade Marks, Copyright and Franchising
Smit & Van Wyk, Inc. is a specialist legal practice dealing exclusively with patent and trade mark law in South Africa. Our fields of practice encompass all aspects relating to patents, trade marks, industrial designs, copyright, including litigation, as well as providing advice on the commercial rights attached to each of these forms of protection.
The patent and trade mark attorneys at our firm, most of whom are also qualified engineers or scientists, are dedicated individuals, skilled in their fields of practice, and can provide clear advice on complex legal matters to clients from all over the world. Our experienced support staff, aided by state-of-the-art software, ensure that we remain efficient and up to date. The foreign department of our firm, in addition to advising on protection, specializes in assisting overseas agents and applicants with filing and prosecution of cases in South Africa and other African countries. We also attend to maintenance of South African cases.
What is Intellectual Property?
The term "intellectual property" or "IP" refers to creations of the mind. Although such creations are often intangible, they may have commercial and strategic value. Intellectual property, once formalized in the form of a patent, registered design, or trade mark, is therefore treated in business as an asset on the balance sheet and has a monetary value associated with it. Irrespective of your type of business, it is most likely that your business has generated intellectual property (patents, registered designs, trade marks, copyright) of value through the creativity of the individuals in the business. It is of utmost importance for individuals and businesses alike to take steps to protect their intellectual property (patents, trade marks, copyright) and then to exploit the commercial and strategic value of the intellectual property.
Do I have Intellectual Property?
In exercising your creativity, you will most likely generate concepts which are new and which, although intangible, are valuable to you or your company. These may include customer lists, standard operating procedures, a new logo that you have designed, or an invention. If these forms of IP meet certain requirements, they will be eligible for protection and hence may contribute to an even greater extent to helping you or your company grow.
Protection of Intellectual Property
Strange as it may sound, many individuals and businesses are unaware of the intellectual property that they have created, or they often underestimate its value. Therefore, if certain steps are not taken to protect their intellectual property (patents, registered designs, trade marks, copyright), such intellectual property cannot be exploited to its full commercial potential. Therefore, the first step in protecting your intellectual property is to identify it. Although it may seem like an obvious process, it is most often not possible to identify the intellectual property of a business without involving specialized expertise. Once the intellectual property of a business has been identified, it is possible to take steps to protect it, whether by means of registered forms of intellectual property protection such as patents, trade marks, registered designs, or unregistered forms of intellectual property protection, such as copyright, contractual agreements or non-statutory forms of protection.
Apart from the traditional forms of engineering and gadget-type inventions, our patent practice is specialized to deal with inventions on the cutting edge of technology, such as Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Biochemistry, Nano-technology, Telecommunications, Computer technology and Software Patents.