By Lefulesele Mahana and Nthabiseng Ratalane
Intellectual property is a mind-creation or an idea that one can come up with, this includes a story, tangible device, an artistic work or a symbol. Intellectual properties have other elements; like Copyright, Patents, Trademarks and Industrial property.
Copyrights the original, artistic and scientific work which can be published in a form of a novel, painting or a song. Copyrights, Industrial designs and Trademarks are lawfully protected so that people cannot make use of them or benefit from one’s ideas without the knowledge of the inventor.
For a Trademark to be protected, it has to have a sign or a mark which will distinguish it from others. Trademarks are protected under the Industrial Property Order of 1989 at the national level. Applications are filed at the Registrar General’s office.
Regionally, trademarks are protected under Banjul Protocol. This is where one can designate the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) member states that are part of the protocol. Trademarks can also be protected internationally under the Madrid system in the Bureau of the World Intellectual Organization (WIPO).
When the Trademark is protected the owner has the exclusive rights to use the mark, the right to
oppose the registration of an identical or similar mark by another person, also the right to
dispose of the trademark as an object of their property. The protection of the Trademark lapses after 10 years from the filing date of the application for registration. This period may be renewed for consecutive periods of 10 years provided the registered owner pays the prescribed renewal fee.
Industrial designs, is an aesthetic or outward appearance of a product. This is what makes products attractive or appealing to the eye. Industrial designs can take the shape of the product, colour and pattern of the product.Industrial designs are also legally protected. However for them to be protected they need to meet a certain criteria, the main one is for it to be purely new (new invention). Nationally, Intellectual designs are protected under the Industrial property order of 1989. Regionally, intellectual designs are protected under Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial designs within the Framework of the African Intellectual Property Organization while Internationally under The Hague Agreement concerning the international registration of Industrial designs in the Bureau of the WIPO. Lesotho is however not part of the agreement.
The actual benefits of registering an industrial designs is that the owner of the registered industry designs has the right to prevent third parties from making use of it , selling or importing articles bearing or embodying a design which is a copy of a protected design, especially for commercial purposes.