Smit & Van Wyk Patent, Trademark & Registered Designs

COVID-19 Lockdown

Intellectual Property Attorneys

Intellectual Property in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic

It is evident that the world is facing uncharted territory as a result of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. There is a great deal of uncertainty and many people are, for the first time, grappling with concepts such as social distancing, travel restrictions, and isolation, all fuelled by economic and health concerns. We as people are, however, resilient.  This is evident from the massive spikes we have seen in ideas and inventions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The intellectual property community has been flooded with new patent-, design- and trade mark applications directed at solutions to fight the pandemic. In order to ensure that ideas and inventions are made available to the public as soon as possible, Smit & Van Wyk have committed themselves to prioritising work on COVID-19 related inventions so that patents in this field can be filed within five business days from receiving instructions from clients.  We are further undertaking to file these applications at a reduced rate. We are committed to working  together with inventors and institutions to do what we can to support the international fight against the Corona Virus Pandemic. For more information please contact

What is Plant Breeders’ Rights?

Plant breeders have intellectual property rights for new plant varieties. Breeders of new plant varieties are granted rights for protection against exploitation. If you breed a plant variety and would like to obtain financial reward for your efforts, you must register that variety with the Registrar for Plant Breeders. Once you have registered a plant variety, it becomes your intellectual property. Any individual breeder or breeding institution may apply for a plant breeder’s right. Foreign breeders can only apply through an agent residing in South Africa. A Plant variety is considered new if the propagating material (seed or cutting from a plant) of a variety has not been sold in South Africa for longer than 1 year and the propagating material of a variety of a tree or of a vine has not been commercialised in another for more than 6 years, or in the case of any other plant for more than 4 years. Plant breeders are only granted rights for kinds of plant that are declared in terms of the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act, 1976 (Act 15 of 1976). 

Requirements for Plant Breeds:

To be granted plant breed rights, plant varieties must be new, distinct, uniform, stable and have an acceptable denomination. A variety is considered:

  • NEW if the propagating material
    • of a variety has not been sold in South Africa for longer than one year.
    • of a variety of a tree or of a vine has not been commercialised in another country for more than six years, or in the case of any other plant for more than four years.
  • DISTINCT if it is clearly distinguishable from any other variety of the same species.
  • STABLE if the plants of the particular variety still look like the original plants after repeated cultivation.
  • UNIFORM if the plants of a variety look similar and are sufficiently uniform in relevant characteristics.
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More information regarding Intellectual Property:

Copyright Films
It is possible to copyright films in South Africa under the Copyright Act of 1978, because any cinematograph film or storage, fixation, and production such as signalling of data to produce the work fall under the protection. 

Nigeria Trademark Registration
Nigeria is a first to file country and trademark registration is mandatory to be granted rights over a mark.  Nigeria trademarks are valid for 7 years from the filing date and renewable for further periods of 14 years.

Mauritius Trademark Registration
Mauritius trademarks recognise the Nice Classification of goods and services, and allows for multi-class filing. Mauritius trademarks are valid for 10 years from the filing date and renewable for periods of 10 years each upon payment of the renewal fee.

Franchise Agreements
Franchising legal advice is specialised and differs from other areas of law, thus you need find yourself an attorney that specialises in this specific type of law. Franchise attorneys represent the franchisor, as well as the franchisee. 

Validation of European patents in Morocco
The system for validating European patents in Morocco introduced under the validation agreement between the European Patent Organisation and the government of the Kingdom of Morocco provides European patent applicants with a simple and cost-effective way…

PCT National Phase Patents in Africa
The PCT National Phase is the second of the two main phases of the PCT procedure. It follows the international phase and consists in the processing of the international application before each Office of (or acting for a Contracting State) that has been designated in the international application.