November 2008


From My Window - November 2008 From My Window November 2008

Mandlenkosi Blaai of Mdantsane must have been pretty startled. I certainly was when I read the story in the East London Daily Dispatch. Blaai was appearing on a charge of assault and was being questioned by his defence counsel when the presiding magistrate, Larney [now there's a first name for you] Opperman announced she'd heard quite enough, recorded a guilty verdict and handed Blaai a prison sentence. Eastern Cape High Court Judge Jeremy Pickering, with Judge Clive Plasket concurring, thought, in what must be a masterful understatement, that Opperman's conduct "was somewhat eccentric." Pickering said a grave injustice might have been perpetrated. I'll say.

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Culling the Springbok Intellectual Property November 2008

Culling wildlife is generally viewed with disapproval by the world at large and is only condoned or tolerated where strong justification or good reasons can be found to exist. Yet the Department of Sport is once again contemplating culling the Springbok as the symbol of the South African national rugby team. Does a sound justification or reason exist for taking this step and does it make any sense to do so?

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Goodwill in personal names: a dress designer’s nostalgia Intellectual Property November 2008

In Jenni Button v Jenni Button (Pty) Limited & 4 others (case no. 12414/05), the Cape High Court recently confirmed that the principles governing the assignment of unregistered trademarks apply equally to the assignment of personal names that have acquired trade mark significance.

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A picture is worth a thousand words . . . Intellectual Property November 2008

What image does that classic adage conjure up in your mind? A painting by a famous artist, such as Leonardo Da Vinci or Vincent Van Gogh? Maybe your child's first drawing? Possibly even Jonathan Shapiro's recent controversial cartoon of Jacob Zuma? Or what about the famous shot by Sam Nzima of the lifeless body of Hector Pietersen being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubu, during the Soweto uprising – an image that is certainly worth a thousand words as far as historic value is concerned, but what about monetary value?

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Ain’t no sunshine Intellectual Property November 2008

In the recent domain name dispute of Intergr8 IT v Sunshine/ Mr Louis Botha involving a South African Complainant and Registrant, a WIPO Administrative Panel rained on the parade of the Registrant of the disputed domain name, one Mr Louis Botha, aka “Sunshine," by ordering that the domain name, integr8it.com, be transferred to the Complainant, Intergr8 IT. The decision raises a number of interesting issues, and differs from the run-of-the-mill domain name objection in that the determination of certain factual issues in dispute between the parties essentially decided the dispute.

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A hotbed of piracy Intellectual Property November 2008

Seventeen African countries have joined together to launch the Southern and East African Copyright Network (SECONET) under the auspices of the United National Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in order to address issues relating to the promotion and protection of the creative industries, copyrights and the IP field in general. SECONET faces an imposing agenda, including harmonising the region's copyright laws and combating piracy and copyright theft.

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Business rescue – help is at hand Company Law November 2008

Business Rescue has long been debated in South Africa and has been a hot topic for a number of years. South African practitioners have for some time taken note of the manner in which Chapter 11 filings work in the United States, and the various administration proceedings which operate in Australia and the United Kingdom.

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Commercial class action has arrived Company Law November 2008

s157 of the Companies Bill 2008, if passed in its present form, will bring the class action into mainstream corporate and commercial activity in South Africa. It will arrive without any legislative procedural guidance and will be regulated by the forum in which it is commenced (a court, the Companies Tribunal, the Takeover Regulation Panel, the Companies Commission).

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Take-over techniques Company Law November 2008

This is the first in a four part series An old rule is that efforts to fix something that doesn't need fixing should be avoided. This isn't true, however, of the reforms proposed by the new Companies Bill.

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The role of board committees in the new Companies Act Company Law November 2008

The board of directors of a company has been described as: “…the focal point of the corporate governance system and it is ultimately accountable and responsible for the performance of a company"1. It is common practice and, in certain instances, a statutory requirement2 that a board of directors has to delegate its authority to a board committee.

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Convert or comply Company Law November 2008

The Corporate Laws Amendment Act, which came into force at the end of last year, introduced the concepts of “widely held" and “limited interest" companies.

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Underlining curators’ powers and authority Company Law November 2008

The fall-out from the Fidentia disaster has had the unexpected effect of spelling out the extraordinary powers of curators. This is what came out of two court decisions, the first from the Cape High Court and the second from the Supreme Court of Appeal.

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Unnecessary Competition Law November 2008

In its second draft of the Competition Amendment Bill, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) proposes to regulate the conduct of complex monopolies. These are sectors in which at least 75% of the goods or services in a market are supplied to, or by, five or fewer firms. It is a complex monopoly if any two or more such firms are shown to conduct their business affairs in a conscious parallel, or co-ordinated manner, without agreement between themselves and that conduct substantially prevents or lessens competition, without any efficiency gains outweighing the anti-competitive effects.

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Mergers and the history of collusion Competition Law November 2008

So, the Competition Commission says that major competitors in the steel sector met, exchanged information and fixed prices in the steel reinforcement market. This was what came out of a press statement released on September 8, when the Commission made known its findings following investigations of various intermediate mergers in the steel sector (involving Aveng and Cape Gate as acquirers),

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Bribe & prejudice Competition Law November 2008

Proposed changes to the Competition Act 89 of 1998 through the Competition Amendment Bill B31 of 2008 (the Bill) are an effort to criminalise anti-competitive behaviour. This has been tipped as the best solution for putting a final nail into the coffin for anti-trust conduct in the wake of the bread, scrap metal and pharmaceutical cartels. Blanket annoyance for cartel activity had been aroused by the startling revelations in the Competition Commission v Tiger Brands Ltd & Anor Case no 15/CR/Feb07.

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