23/03/2018 09:25 SAST | Updated 23/03/2018 13:19 SAST

Creatives, Here Is Why You Should Legally Protect Your Work

'Dare to be bold' says IP lawyer, it might help you in the long run

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Being a creative is a difficult task on its own; however, building a career can sometimes be a difficult task owing to the poor industry structures that often result in artists being their own boss with little expertise. Issues regarding financial management and copyright are often the primary problems for any small business in the creative industry.

Adams and Adams Intellectual Property lawyer, Jean Bruneau, says creatives should "dare to be bold". This will ensure that the high level of creativity used by the artist will make it far easier to protect work that has been put out by the artist. Bruneau describes four primary categories of protection that are available for use in South Africa.

Patent Protection: This requires a new invention with an "inventive step". This would mean that the change is not obvious to someone who is skilled in that trade of work.

Copyright Protection: This level of protection requires originality and your work must be in a fixed material form. This is the most common level of protection.

Trademark Protection: This requires a your work to have a distinct signature which would distinguish your own goods/service from any other generic goods and services.

Know-how Protection: Confidentially held information that brings a competitive advantage.

Bruneau highlights that the more distinct the offering is, the easier it is to stay protected. Business owners should find the time to create smaller offerings of distinct work to ensure that protecting the item is more cost-effective and easier to track if evidence is kept of the process going into making the goods.

Legal fees are expensive; however, Bruneau suggests that if an entrepreneur does want to trademark they can do so on their own however legal consult is always recommended to ensure all process is carefully followed.

Senegalese designer, Sarah Diouf found herself at the centre of an intellectual property infringement case. Watch as she explains how her original bag design was stolen by French fashion house, YSL and how she went went about getting justice:

Bruneau says the outcome of these cases is usually a settlement based on the damages brought on to the original design. The second being that all items created be returned and therefore cannot be sold.