南非知识产权发展概况

总第67期 China IP Magazine发表,[专利]文章

商标

  在南非申请注册商标分为两个阶段。 第一阶段是由商标注册机构进行审查。注册机构考虑申请的可注册性及与在先申请或注册的近似性。注册机构有权自主决定接受、驳回或者设定限制条件。一旦接受,商标注册进入第二个阶段。第二阶段是公告注册申请并接受异议。相关方可自公告日起3个月内提起异议。如果没有异议,则申请即可注册。

  目前,从申请到注册的整个过程大约需要3年。 自申请之日起,商标有效期为10年,每次续展10年,没有次数限制。南非使用《尼斯分类》第九版,共有34类商品和11类服务。南非不允许多类别申请,单个类别需要另外提出申请,以寻求保护。

著作权

  除电影胶片的著作权外,没有正式的著作权登记程序。

  作品必须满足以下标准才能享有著作权,即:它必须是原创,浓缩为某种物质形式,创作该作品的人或单位必须为南非的居民、公民或在南非及《伯尔尼公约》缔约国内有住所。 一般来说,作品的创作者或作者是著作权人。但是,以下情形除外:

  1.委托别人摄影、绘画、制作凹版印刷、电影胶片或录音并支付报酬的是该作品的著作权人;

  2.创作者或作者受雇期间创作的作品,著作权属于雇主;

  3.计算机程序的著作权人属于控制计算机程序制作的人;

  4.根据《著作权法》规定,国家或者国际组织是其指挥或控制下创作的作品的著作权人;

  5.创作者或作者已将著作权转让给他人。作品的著作权保护期限取决于作品的类型。 文学、音乐和艺术作品的著作权保护期,为作品作者死亡后50年。计算机程序的著作权保护期为该程序首次向公众公布后50年。

  已发行的胶片电影、录音、广播和电视节目和其他节目信号的保护期限为首次发行或播放后50年。

专利

  1978年第57号《专利法》规范了在南非授予发明专利权。该法规定,可授予专利的任何新发明,必须具有创造性并适合贸易、工业和农业方面的应用。

  以下行为因其目的而不能构成为发明,包括新发现,科学理论,数学方法,文学、戏剧、音乐及艺术作品或其他审美创造,为实现某种心理行为而采取的计划、规则或方法,玩游戏或经商,一个电脑程序或一种信息呈现等。此外,若一项发明包含在人体或动物体上进行手术、治疗或诊断的方法或手段,则该项发明不能在贸易、工业或农业中进行使用或应用。

  一项发明只要在其优先权日前不构成现有技术的一部分即可视为新的发明。现有技术包括所有物件(可以为产品、程序或其信息,及其他),已通过书

  面或口头描述,使用或者其他方式为公众(在南非或其他地方)所获得。这是一个绝对新颖性的要求。

  只要一项发明在其优先权日前不构成现有技术的同类(有例外),且该发明所涉及的技不为熟悉该技艺的人明显掌握,则可被视为含有创造性因素。

  南非实行非审查制度,因此,对专利申请不会进行实质审查,不会在授予专利权前审核有关申请是否具有新颖性和创造性。然而,在南非,任何专利在其生命周期内都可被任何人申请撤销,也就是在撤销程序中,才会处理新颖性和创造性的问题,即进行实质审查。

  在南非,自提交完整的专利申请日或PCT申请指定南非起,专利保护期限为20年,但必须支付规定的续展费用。自提交完整的专利申请后第三年起必须每年缴纳续展费。

  专利的作用在于,在专利的有效期限内,南非的专利权人有权阻止他人制造、使用、行使、处置、许诺处置或进口该发明,以便让其享有发明带来的所有利益和优势。一旦一方踏入专利权人享有的排他权利区域,则专利权人有权对其提起专利侵权之诉。

外观设计

  南非有关外观设计的事宜适用1993年第195号《外观设计法》。

  登记外观设计一般用来保护物品的外观。这可能与专利不同,专利的目的是保护一个基本的概念。但是,专利提供的保护和登记外观设计提供的保护可能会存在重叠,在某些情况下可以同时申请两种类型的登记。

  根据《外观设计法》,外观设计可富有美感或具有实用性。具有美感的外观设计指应用于任何物品的外观设计,包括图案、形状或其结合、装饰,或者以上两种或者更多种类的结合并通过其他方法得以应用,具有吸引力并完全由眼睛来做判断的特征,而不考虑其中的美学特质。实用性外观设计指应用于任何物品的外观设计,包括图案、形状或其结合,或者以上两种或者更多种类的结合,并通过其他任何方法得以应用,具有应用该外观设计的功能必有的特征,包括集成电路布图设计、掩膜作品或一系列掩膜作品。

  要获得登记,具有美感的外观设计必须具有新颖性和独创性;实用性外观设计必须是具有新颖性,并在现有技术中不常见。新颖性与专利的新颖性要求类似,但也不是绝对的,因为有6个月(对集成电路布图设计、掩膜作品或一系列掩膜作品而言,是2年)的新颖性宽限期。但是,即使存在一个新颖性宽限期,外观设计权只能从该外观设计权登记之日起具有可执行性。

  因此,外观设计的登记分为两部分,就同一个外观设计而言,可同时申请具有美感的外观设计及实用性外观设计。此外,外观设计在不同类别的商品登记,所提供的保护也限于选择的商品,但可以同时在一类以上商品上登记。南非适用登记外观设计分类洛迦诺体系。

  登记外观设计的作用在于,在登记的有效期限内,在南非的外观设计权利人有权阻止他人制造、进口、使用、处置已登记外观设计的类别内任何物品,以及植入该登记外观设计或者与该登记外观设计区别不大的外观设计。

  具有美感的外观设计保护期限为15年,实用性外观设计为10年,自登记之日或发布日期(如果发布日期早于登记之日)起算。自适用的发布日期或者登记日期后起第三年开始,必须支付续展费用。

Trademark

  An application for the registration of a trademark in South Africa follows a two stage process. The first stage is the examination of the application by the Registrar of Trade Marks. The Registrar considers the inherent registrability of the application as well as any similarity to a prior application or registration. The Registrar has the discretion to accept, reject or set conditions for acceptance of the application. Once accepted the mark then proceeds to the second stage.

  The second stage is the publication of the application for opposition purpose. Interested parties are given an opportunity of three months from the date of publication to oppose an application. Should no oppositions be raised, the application will then proceed to registration. Currently the entire process takes approximately three years from the date of application to registration. A trademark is valid for a period of ten years from the date of application and is renewable indefinitely for ten year periods. South Africa follows the 9th edition of the Niece Classification with 34 goods classes and 11 services classes. South African does not permit multi-class applications and a separate application is necessary for each class in which protection is desired.

Copyright

  There is no formal registration process for copyright, save for copyright in cinematographic films. In order for copyright to come into existence, the work must meet the following criteria, namely:  it must be original, reduced to a material form; and the person or entity that created the work must be a resident, citizen or domiciled in South Africa or a country that is a signatory to the Berne Convention. Generally, the owner of the copyright in a work is the creator(s) or author(s) of the work. However, there are some notable exceptions to this general rule, namely:

  1. The person commissioning and paying for the taking of a photograph, painting of portrait, making of a gravure, cinematographic film or a sound recording is the owner of the copyright in such work;

  2. The copyright in a work created in the course of the creator’s or author’s employment is owned by the employer;

  3. The owner of the copyright in a computer program is the person who exercised control over the making of the computer program;

  4. The State or any international organisation prescribed under the Copyright Act is the owner of the copyright in the work made under its direction or control;

  5. Where the creator or author has assigned the copyright to another person.

  The duration of copyright in a work depends on the type of work. In respect of literary, musical and artistic works, the copyright subsists for 50 years form the year in which the author of the work dies.

  In respect of computer programs, the copyright subsists for 50 years from the year in which legitimate copies were first made available to the public. In respect of copyright for published cinematographic films, sound recordings, radio and television broadcasts and other programme-carrying signals, the copyright subsists for 50 years from the end of the year in which the work was first published or broadcast.

Patent

  The Patents Act No. 57 of 1978 governs the patenting of inventions in South Africa.  In terms of the Act a patent may be granted for any new invention which involves an inventive step and which is capable of being applied in trade, industry or agriculture.

  Anything which consists of a discovery, a scientific theory, a mathematical method, a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or any other aesthetic creation, a scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business, a program for a computer or the presentation of information shall not be an invention for the purposes of the act.  Furthermore, an invention comprising a method of treatment of  the human or animal body by surgery or therapy or diagnosis practised on the human or animal body shall be deemed as not capable of being used or applied in trade or industry or agriculture.

  An invention is deemed to be new if it doesnot form part of the state of the art immediatelybefore the priority date of the invention. The state of the art comprises all matter (whether a product, a process, information about either, or anything else), which has been made available to the public (whether in the Republic or elsewhere) by written or oral description, by use or in any other way. This is an absolute novelty requirement.

  An invention is deemed as involving an inventive step if it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art to which the invention relates, having regard (with certain exceptions) to any matter, which forms part of the state of the art immediately before the priority date of the invention. South Africa is a non-examining jurisdiction and, as such, there is no substantive examination of patent applications to determine whether such applications are novel and inventive prior to the grant of a South African patent.  However, a South African patent is revocable at any stage during its life span by any person and it is during revocation proceedings which generally deal with issues of novelty and inventiveness that such patent is substantively examined.

  The term of a patent in South Africa is twenty years from the date of filing of the complete patent application or PCT application designating South Africa, subject to the payment of the prescribed renewal fees.  Renewal fees are payable annually from the third year after filing of the complete application.

  The effect of a patent is to grant the patentee, in the Republic, for the duration of the patent the right to exclude other persons from making, using, exercising, disposing of, offering to dispose of, or importing the invention, so that he or she shall have the whole profit and advantage accruing by reason of the invention. Where another party steps into this exclusive province of the patentee, the patentee will have an action for patent infringement against such party.

Design

  Matters relating to registered designs in South Africa are governed by the Designs Act 195 of 1993.

  A registered design is generally used to protect the appearance of an article.  This may be contrasted with a patent, which aims to protect an underlying concept. However, it is still possible that there may be an overlap between the protection afforded by a patent and a registered design and in certain instances both types of registration can be applied for.

  Under the Designs Act a design may be either aesthetic or functional.  An aesthetic design is defined as any design applied to any article, whether for the pattern or the shape or the configuration or the ornamentation thereof or for any two or more of those purposes, and by whatever means it is applied having features which appeal to and are judged solely by the eye, irrespective of the aesthetic quality thereof.  A functional design is defined as any design applied to any article, whether for the pattern or the shape or the configuration or for any two or more of those purposes, and by whatever means it is applied having features which are necessitated by the function which the article to the which the design is applied, is to perform, and includes integrated circuit topography, a mask work and a series of mask works.

  In order to be registerable, an aesthetic design must be new and original and a functional design must be new and not commonplace in the art in question.  Novelty is similar to the novelty requirements in terms of patents, but is not absolute in that there is a six month (or two year in the case of an integrated topography, a mask work or a series of mask works) novelty grace period. However, irrespective of the fact that there is a novelty grace period, design rights will only be enforceable from the date of the registration of the design.

  The design register is therefore divided into two parts and hence both aesthetic and functional designs may be filed for the same design.  Furthermore, designs are registered in different classes of goods and protection is only afforded for the selected class of goods, although it is possible to register the design in more than one class. South Africa uses the Locarno Classification system for the classification of registered designs.

  The effect of the registration of a design is to grant the registered proprietor in the Republic, for the duration of the registration, the right to exclude others from making, importing, using or disposing of any article included in the class in which the design is registered and embodying the registered design or a design not substantially different from the registered design.

  The term of an aesthetic design is fifteen years and the term of a functional design is ten years commencing from the registration date or the release date (if there has been release prior to the date of registration) and is subject to the payment of renewal fees which become payable from the third anniversary of the registration date or release date, whichever is applicable.

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