LES SA at a Glance: Newsletter



LES SA successfully hosted an in-person mini conference and its annual general meeting at the SeVen Villa Hotel and Spa by The Capital in Sandton, Gauteng.
The mini conference was addressed by:

  • Mr Thandanani Cwele, the South African Registrant of Patents who shared valuable information on the current activities at the Patents Offices as well as plans going forward.
  • Ms Jetane Charsley, the Head of the National Intellectual Property Management Office which controls all intellectual property creation, reporting, registration and commercialisation conducted by Government funded institutions in South Africa. Jetane reported on current policy evolutions at NIPMO, the results from recent surveys as well as the significant commercial successes being achieved under NIPMO’s guidance.
  • Mr Modise Sefume, who is intimately involved in new generation examples of how intellectual property and licensing evolve and adapt to technology changes and societal trends. He gave a fascinating insight into the interaction between intellectual property and licensing in sports and entertainment agreements as well as influencer agreements.
  • Dr Cynthia Motsi who is a senior manager at the South African Agricultural Research Council. Cynthia explained the diverse roll that the ARC plays in the agricultural research field at its 10 campuses across South Africa and shared information on the global impact which the ARC’s more than 500 Plant Breeders Registration commercialisation projects have.
  • Mr Fred Makgato, the CEO of the Franchise Association of South Africa. Fred explained the significant contribution which franchising businesses make to the South African economy (almost 14% of GDP), as well as the broad range of different sectors where franchising models are used. Franchising brings together and utilises diverse types of intellectual property and translate the intellectual property into businesses that drive economic growth and employment.

After lunch the LES SA 2022 AGM followed during which the outgoing LES SA president, Danie Dohmen, highlighted some of the significant LES SA events held over the past year. These included:

  • 26 August 2021 – the AGM was followed by an online talk by Dr Ian Basson the CEO and founder of TECT Geological consulting, who addressed the members and LES SA guests on The journey of a consulting geologist and the value chain of mineral exploration. The event had 50 attendees.
  • 21 October 2021 – an online afternoon talk on Patenting of inventions created by artificial intelligence – a South African perspective by Pieter Visagie from Adams & Adams which had 71 attendees.
  • November 2021 – 3-day IP Valuation Training Course (in-person) hosted by LES SA together with the Moolman Institute at the boutique Leipzig conference venue and hotel. The trainers were Dr. Sean Moolman, Alan Lewis, Theo Doubell and Dr. Madelein Kleyn and there were 15 students in attendance.
  • November 2021 – the YMC committee hosted two in-person year-end events. An American style food and a bourbon whiskey tasting in Gauteng and a talk on Plant Breeders Rights followed by some Mexican delicacies and home craft beer in the Western Cape.
  • 27 January 2022 – an online afternoon talk on Protecting your “digital” intellectual property which was presented by Professor Danny Myburg. The event had 35 attendees.
  • 17 March 2022 – an online afternoon talk on New Breeding Techniques and Genetically Modified Organism Regulation in South Africa which was presented Dr Hennie Groenewald and hosted by the Life Sciences Sub-Chapter of LES SA.
  • 17 March 2022 – Kids IP Day – an updated slide deck on IP was distributed to various schools and organizational bodies for educational use, the video was also available on the LES SA website.
  • 9 June 2022 – an online panel discussion on Strategies to bolster enforceability of confidentiality agreements, facilitated by Pieter Visagie and hosted by the on CEEM committee. The panel included Dr Torsten Peters, Vice President Mergers & Finance Laws, Sasol South Africa Limited; Arno Visser, Head of In-House Legal, TurnCoin; Stephanus Marais, CEO, Maravion (Pty) Ltd; Rajen Naidoo, Commercial Executive, Afrigen Biologics and Dr Madelein Kleyn, Director, Technology Transfer at Innovus, Stellenbosch University; founder of Mad K IP Consulting (Pty) Ltd. The event had 39 attendees.
  • 4 August 20221 – an in-person panel discussion on The intersection between artificial intelligence (AI), advanced materials and synthetic biology with particular emphasis on the life sciences industry which was hosted in collaboration between the LES SA Life Sciences and IUGT committees at SARIMA’s annual conference at Wanderers, Johannesburg. The panel included Mrs Nolene Singh, Stellenbosch University; Dr Joanne van Harmelen, ENSafrica – Prof Petro Terblanche, Afrigen – Dr Charleen Rupnarain, Adams & Adams and Dr Madelein Kleyn, Stellenbosch University (South Africa) and CEO of Mad K IP Consulting (Pty) Ltd
  • 25 August 2022 – an online webinar on Roundtable Discussion on NFTs presented by the LES SA and LESI Entertainment, Media and Copyright committees which had 107 (mostly international) attendees.

Danie also handed over the reins of the LES SA presidency to Johan du Preez.

The event provided an opportunity for LES SA members to meet old acquittances, put faces to the names which were met over virtual platforms and emails over the last two years and to connect with new colleagues. The AGM was followed by a cocktail and networking function. Some pictures of the event are shown in the figures below.

The conference and AGM were sponsored by Adams & Adams and ENSafrica.

Figure 2 Danie Dohmen opening the LES SA conference and AGM in Johannesburg

Figure 1 Left to Right, Danie Dohmen (LES SA President); Mr Modise Sefume (Founder of Sefume Attorneys); Dr Cynthia Motsi (Senior Manager: Intellectual Property Management & Commercialisation at the Agricultural Research Council); Thandanani Cwele (Senior Manager: Patents and Designs at CIPC); Ms Jetane Charsley (Head: NIPMO) and Mr Fred Makgato (CEO of the Franchise Association of South Africa)

Figure 3 Guests networking after the LES SA Annual Meeting and Conference

INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER (I&TT): Artificial Intelligence Panel (SARIMA) – 4 August 2022

The Licensing Executive Society (LES) South Africa hosted a very successful panel discussion at the South African Research and Innovation Managers Association (SARIMA) AGM on 4 August 2022, including speakers from the legal, university and start-up fields. The highly topical subject related to the intersection between artificial intelligence (AI), advanced materials and synthetic biology with particular emphasis on the life sciences industry. Although there many opportunities for businesses seeking to operate in this space, there are also many challenges, not least relating to the navigation of protection, management and commercialisation of intellectual property (IP) in this extremely IP-rich space. Topics covered by the panel included:

  • how to deal inventorship and patentability of AI inventions,
  • landscaping and freedom to operate reviews in the fast evolving field of AI and deep tech;
  • best practices when implementing collaborative frameworks, including considerations relating to IP ownership, protection of confidential information, licensing, and liability mitigation given the fast pace of innovation and development;
  • a case study relating to IP strategies in the deep tech space for a start-up company developing a mRNA vaccine platform, including against SARS-CoV-2; and
  • case studies relating to funding and incubation of deep tech and AI technologies in the academic environment.

Upcoming events

Realising Value from Intangible Assets: IP Valuation Course 2-4 November 2022(Face to Face – Western Cape, South Africa)

From start-up technology to university inventions and company brands, IP is integral to building and deriving value. The need to value IP arises whenever it is part of a transaction, whether it is an investment, acquisition, liquidation, auction, infringement suit, transfer or licence. It can also be required for taxation, accounting and management purposes. To do IP valuations or damages assessments, you must understand valuation methodologies, and how valuation is impacted by commercial, regulatory and other considerations.

In this hands-on 3-day course, you will learn the basics of IP valuation and damages assessments, its regulatory and commercial context, and how to apply your knowledge through case studies and group exercises.

Registration and detailed information can be found here: Intellectual Property Valuation Course – Western Cape – Licensing Executives Society NPC