Explaining Private Law in South Africa
Private law is also referred to as civil law and entails the legal relationships between citizens of a country in contrast to the legal relationship of the government with the citizens of the country, known as public law.
Private law entails the law of obligations and of contracts. Public law on the other hand deals with public order, statutory regulations and criminal law.
Common law countries such as South Africa have rather complicated legal systems where the relationship between the government and the citizens of the country is often based on private law.
Private law includes areas such as property law, competition law, commercial law, and labour law. Intellectual property law also falls within this scope. This means that civil action can be taken against another party for the violation of your intellectual property rights which may be copyright, patent or trademark related.
Within this broader category you can for instance, institute legal action against a party who used or distributed your copyright protected articles on the Internet without your prior written permission.
You can also institute legal action for compensation when another party uses your invention or commercially benefits from the use and distribution of your patented invention without a license agreement in place with you as the patent holder. A company may take legal action against another company for counterfeiting a trademarked product.
The list of litigation possibilities is endless.
In general though, you will require assistance in private law with the setting up of agreements, reviewing such agreements, and taking action against contract breach by one of the signing parties.
Should you require assistance in any of the above instances, contact us as intellectual property attorneys at Smit & Van Wyk today.