February 2010


From My Window - February 2010 From My Window February 2010

Anthropogenic global warming became the trigger for the growth of a major industry last year. Attached to the issue of climate change – a fact with which just about everyone is in agreement – it has prompted soul-searching, breast-beating and promises of massive dollops of moolah for a steadily expanding group of scientists who have rushed to get their snouts into this new cornucopia.

Read More

Big Brother is watching Competition Law February 2010

The first few months of 2009 saw the Competition Commission carry out investigations into supermarket chains and wholesalers, the bicycle, piped gas, and the pre-cast concrete industries. In the process, search and seizure raids were carried out on the main players in the pre-cast concrete industry. Administrative penalties amounting to 8,8% of turnover were subsequently levied against a number of offending companies.

Read More

Searching for certainty Competition Law February 2010

This note highlights perceived shortcomings in the administrative penalties regime contained in s59 of the Competition Act (89 of 1998) and examines how these may be remedied by the competition authorities publishing guidelines, similar to those imposed in the European Union.

Read More

See you in court - but not to win The Law February 2010

Everybody loves a winner. This is why being on the receiving end of a loss in court can be a humiliating, costly, lengthy and time-consuming exercise. Ensuring a winning formula is crucial – especially when dealing with government authorities.

Read More

The many merits of mediation Dispute Resolution February 2010

What do the Companies Act, 2008, the Consumer Protection Act, 2008 and the National Credit Act, 2005 and 38 other South African statutes have in common? The answer is that each of these statutes provides for disputes to be resolved by mediation. Though the Companies Act and the Consumer Protection Act are not yet in force, the use of mediation as a technique for dispute resolution is likely to remain in these statutes when they become law.

Read More

Keeping out of the courts Dispute Resolution February 2010

The role of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has gained ground in recent years as an alternative to often protracted and expensive court litigation. It is no surprise then that the legislature is beginning to reflect such a sentiment more definitively.

Read More

Independent directors: a moving target? Company Law February 2010

One of the more contentious debates in South Africa's corporate law reform process over the last few years has been about the classification of directors as “independent."

Read More

Start worrying about inadequate share buyback protection for shareholders Company Law February 2010

It is perfectly true that shareholders might, if they get the chance, behave badly towards creditors. And they might even, if they could, make excessive distribution payments to themselves.

Read More

Making sure SA's M&A regulations match the world's best Company Law February 2010

This is the second in a two-part series. Part 1 appeared in the December 2009 issue and dealt with the establishment of a new Takeover Regulation Panel (TRP) and a Takeover Special Committee, appointed to hear and decide on referrals from the TRP; and the authority and functions of the TRP. This part drills down into the detail:

Read More

Quorums and Resolutions Company Law February 2010

Every company is required to hold an annual general meeting. It's where members formally congregate to discuss a variety of matters – how their compa- ny is doing, and others which are prescribed either by the (current) Companies Act or by the company's own articles of association.

Read More

Indigenous Plant Varieties: hanging onto what's ours Intellectual Property February 2010

Plants that had their origins in South Africa are making pots of money (pun intended) for growers in other countries. Only very rarely does any of this find its way, back to this country.

Read More

The internet on the cusp of momentous change Intellectual Property February 2010

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organisation that controls the internet's naming system, recently released Version 3 of its Draft Applicant Guidebook which is designed to guide potential applicants through the new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) application process, set to begin this year.

Read More

Laws that definitely need a "remix" Intellectual Property February 2010

Last year Nokia launched its Nokia Music Store making it possible for South Africans to buy music using their hand-held devices or personal computers. Before this, there had been no large-scale digital music download operation in South Africa. No, Apple iTunes is not available in South Africa, “technically."

Read More

Defining "geographic indicators" Intellectual Property February 2010

The use by traders of marks with geographic significance is both normal and problematic. It is normal to wish to indicate a connection with a particular geographic location, especially if that location gives the product a cachet or characteristic it would not otherwise have. However it is problematic if, in doing so, the trader seeks to fence off part of the commons which should be free to any other trader who does not mislead by using the geographical name.

Read More

The language trap Pension Law February 2010

If there's one thing certain to get members of pension funds and trustees into a lather, it is the matter of actuarially calculated surpluses.

Read More