We don’t know about you, but our social media accounts, and the internet in general, are currently being flooded with articles on tips, to-do lists and suggestions to beat the lockdown boredom as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We at Witz Inc also think it’s a good idea to use this time productively and have provided a slightly different take on the typical ‘boredom busters’. This one is for your business and might just be the most important thing you can do for your business during the lockdown. Accordingly, we are proud to present the Witz Inc Top 7 Intellectual Property Boredom Busters!
1. Organise that cupboard / drawer
While we definitely encourage making the most of the lockdown to “get your house in order” (and possibly throwing away that awful vase you got as a birthday present 10 years ago), we’re more concerned about the organisation of your Intellectual Property cupboard. You know, the “cupboard / drawer” where you’ve filed all the “to be discussed” emails?
The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission had announced that their offices would be closed to the public from Wednesday 25 March 2020 until Thursday 30 April 2020 (or longer, depending on any further extensions) in light of the implementation of a National Lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic. CIPC have since announced that they will commence a phased-in re-opening of their offices and business operations, beginning on Monday 4 May 2020. This is an ideal opportunity to take a closer look at the timelines around your intellectual property as well as any changes that may need to be affected when one is able to do same. For example, did any of your trade marks fall due for renewal during this period? These deadlines would now have fallen due on 4 May 2020 (with the exceptions of time periods under the Paris Convention and time periods relating to lodging of renewals which will only be deemed as lapsed on 6 May 2020). Are they any instances where specific instructions are required in order for your trade marks to proceed to registration? Have any of your subsidiary companies changed their name or alternatively, moved to another address? These details must be formally recorded against your trade marks and other forms of Intellectual Property in order to ensure that your IP house is in order.
2. Do a home workout
Take this opportunity to do a full and in-depth audit of your Intellectual Property. Discuss a review of your portfolio with your favourite intellectual property specialists, (a.k.a. Witz Inc – we are available for teleconferences across all your favourite platforms!), in order to ascertain how far your protection extends and where there are gaps that may need immediate attention. This a great opportunity to ensure that trade marks that are currently being used are protected and highlight areas to potentially protect going forward.
3. Tackle that DIY project
This step follows the full house audit discussed above. Look into actioning the protection of any brands or trade marks discovered during the audit which are currently being used but that have not yet been protected and that should be prioritised going forward. This will ensure a more wholistic protection of your entire business.
Ensure that any new business ventures entered into are recorded in an agreement in order to afford protection to both parties. Alternatively, ask a member of the Witz Inc team to review any commercial agreement that is being taken into consideration in order to safeguard your rights.
4. Move some furniture!
Decided that your second bedroom would serve better as a study in light of the lockdown? Suddenly dived into a market that you hadn’t originally planned on entering? Pandemic have you extending into previously unchartered waters?
We wholeheartedly support the furthering of new business ventures that may not have previously been available, however a word of caution for this tale:
Make sure that any new brands and business ventures are adequately protected. Review and / or draft any potential agreements that are needed to formally record a new business relationship. If you have decided to offer services outside of South Africa you would also need to protect your intellectual property in those countries as well.
As CIPC has resumed some of its usual business operations as mentioned previously, you are now able to protect any new business ventures and any new branding– and should make this a priority. This will limit the potential for any infringement claims as well as protecting your intellectual property rights and any other pecuniary interests.
5. Flex your (creative) muscles and set some goals!
The unchartered waters discussed above are turning out to be quite profitable. Once you have adequately protected your new business ventures and subsequent new branding, outline and devise a business plan inclusive of goals and next steps to ensure that your new ventures continue to be profitable as well as identify possible new ventures that may require protection going forward. The sky is the limit.
6. With a Little Help from my Friends
A unique opportunity has arisen – your clients and customers are primed to give you their undivided attention (they literally cannot leave their homes) – take the time to do some market research, find out what goods and or services they require from you and whether you are able to develop products or render services that could meet these requirements.
Use the opportunity to promote your current products and / or services to ensure that your client base does not diminish over the lockdown period.
7. Do something you love
While everyone is constantly being reminded to be grateful for the opportunity to be forced into lockdown and to not waste said opportunity – don’t forget to take some time to relax and try and enjoy this period. Rest and recuperate and you’ll be ready to take over the world again when things return to normal.
The Witz Inc Intellectual Property specialists are able and eager to assist on any of the above boredom busters and are just a text message, WhatsApp, telephone call, Skype, Zoom, MS Teams message and / or email away.