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Student Entrepreneurs Learn About The Concept of Intellectual Property

Student Entrepreneurs Learn About The Concept of Intellectual Property

The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Technology Transfer and Innovation Office in conjunction with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) office hosted the IPWISE Workshop at the ML Sultan Campus on 26 July 2019.

DUT’s Intellectual Property and Copyright specialist Dr Ramika Bansi, welcomed the guest speaker, CIPC Senior Education Specialist Mojalefa Khoza, who gave a talk to DUT students and the community at large, on copyright issues, trademark procedures and commercialisation issues of Intellectual Property. Dr Bansi, in her opening remarks highlighted that the DUT is also focused on assisting those who are keen in starting their own businesses and becoming enterprising entrepreneurs. She further stressed the vital importance of attendance for the valuable information being shared at this workshop.

Khoza from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission gave further input into how one can take an entrepreneurship idea to the market, by being informed about the concept of Intellectual Property (IP) and how one can commercialise one’s IP. He further explained the definition of IP, saying that Intellectual Property referred to the creation of the mind which is internationally accepted and related to inventions (patents), literary and artistic works (copyright), symbols, names (trademarks) and designs used in commerce.

“Statistics for patent and design applications show that South Africa receives an average of 9000 patent applications and 2000 design applications a year. From that only 10% are local applications, 75% are foreign applications and about 15% are patent applications originating from South Africa, filed abroad,” he said.

Khoza also explained the various terminologies with regards to copyright and patents, industrial design and trademarks, as well as how to protect your IP internationally.

“IP protection is territorial in nature. Through World Intellectual Property organisation (WIPO) protection of patents, designs, trademarks and copyright is possible. All these protection instruments exist to harmonise the IP system and benefit citizenry of countries which are members,” he said.

He also spoke on the Inventor Assistance Programme which pairs a financially under resourced inventor with a pro bono attorney, assisting the inventor to obtain patent protection, providing that the inventor meets the eligibility criteria.

“The invention concerned on face value must meet the criteria for patent ability, and have prospects for commercial success. The application will also be assessed by the screening committee, which will in turn give recommendations to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) concerning the application. If successful; WIPO will then pair the inventor with a pro bono attorney,” he said.

Khoza also spoke of copyright and patent examples which included the story on the Bafana Bafana soccer team trade name which the South African Football Association (SAFA) had to buy off for a huge sum of money, just because they had not patented the name.

Khoza also encouraged budding student entrepreneurs to visit the CIPC website for all the information on IP as well as employment opportunities in the field.

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Pictured: Senior Education Specialist, Mojalefa Khoza from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, with DUT’s Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer & Commercialization specialist Dr Ramika Bansi.

Waheeda Peters

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