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Reverse engineering: Let's work backwards

By Nicole Neethling on 12 February 2021

"To understand how something works, you must first take it apart and unravel its secrets, only then can you build something better.  This is called Reverse Engineering.  In the future, corporations will rely on it to gain access to their competitors' secrets."  Or so went the intro to Ben Affleck's movie Paycheck, where Affleck was an engineer hired by companies to reverse engineer their competitors' products.  Their intentions might not have been the purest of sorts, so the question that was left was whether this process is legal, and further can (or should) it be prevented?

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Graphic User Interfaces: The billion-dollar design registration

By Nicole Neethling on 1 February 2021

Popular brands invest millions into the look and feel, or the graphic user interface ("GUI") of their devices to attract people to their brand.  The comfort of knowing how to use a brand's GUI is why so many users become brand loyal.  It is then not surprising that companies want to protect their GUIs from being used by their competition. 

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Brompton Bicycle case confirms copyright protection in utilitarian works

By Larissa Holtzhausen on 25 January 2021

In the recent decision of the CJEU in Brompton Bicycle Ltd v Chedech/Get2Get (Case C‑833/18, SI) the court considered whether a design dictated in part by technical considerations may still qualify for copyright protection under EU law.  Ultimately it was found that the deciding factor will be whether the design reflects the personality of the author and is an expression of her/his free and creative choices. 

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Effect of failure to publish notice of transfer of business

By Jan-Hendrik Gous on 21 January 2021

In the recent case of CJ Pharmaceutical Enterprises (Pty) Ltd and others v Main Road Centurion 30201 CC t/a Albermarle Pharmacy and another [2020] ZAGPJHC 353, the Johannesburg High Court ruled on the effect of not publishing a notice of transfer of a business as contemplated in section 34(1) of the Insolvency Act, 1936, considering an issue many thought trite in law.

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Exchange control loops go for a loop

By Shona Nicoll on 15 January 2021

In the 2020 mid-term budget it was announced that the prohibition of loop structure would be lifted and on 4 January 2021, the South African Reserve Bank (herein "SARB") published a circular giving effect thereto.

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Brexit and .eu domain names – what do you need to know?

By Larissa Holtzhausen on 12 January 2021

As you are no doubt aware, as of 1 February 2020 (and after a significant amount of dawdling) the United Kingdom officially left the European Union.  Among other things, Brexit has had a significant effect on individuals and businesses that hold pan-European intellectual property rights, including EUTM trade mark registrations, community design rights and .eu domains.

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Copyright, who's your mama?

By Nicole Neethling on 8 January 2021

It was no small thing when the wise King Solomon had two women enter his courts with a baby, both crying out that the baby was theirs, and wanting him to wield his sword of justice.  Our courts today have had to hear the not dissimilar cries from contending parties, both bringing a computer program forward and asking the court to declare… "Who's the mama?"

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POPIA: is your business ready for data subject notification?

By Maryke Sher-Lun & Shona Nicoll on 14 December 2020

When the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 ("GDPR") first came into effect, every EU citizen received a flood of emails from a range of businesses that had their personal information.

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A scanned signature renders certain agreements invalid

By Dérick Swart on 9 December 2020

Earlier this year, the Gauteng High Court was asked to rule whether a scanned copy of a hand-written signature applied by someone other than the signatory to a deed of surety was binding on the signatory.

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Directors serving on multiple boards – a cautionary SCA judgment

By Steven Stuart-Steer on 3 December 2020

Our common law and company legislation impose duties on directors to exercise their powers in good faith and in the best interests of their company.  


The Supreme Court of Appeal ("SCA") recently decided a case which demonstrates that directors who decide to serve on multiple boards may potentially become exposed to claims for personal liability and disgorgement of any undue benefits arising from their position on the respective company boards.

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