Creative works such as songs, books and other publications, paintings or pictures are automatically protected – as the creator you have the “copyright”. This is the simplest form of protection because you don’t have to register it anywhere. Nobody is allowed to copy your work.
In Namibia you can protect works such as literature, books, music and creative work formally by filing a copyright application with the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology>Services>Copyright Services.
- Basic Facts About Copyright
- Newspaper or Magazine registration
- Application for Copyright Testimonial
Logos and names of your company, your products or services are meant to be unique. You don’t want other companies to use similar logos or names because customers might confuse your and their products. You can register logos, names or other marks and protect them this way. The registration process will also make sure your logos and names don’t interfere with those other companies have registered already.
If you have a company we recommend registering your company name and logo at a minimum, consider also registering product names, logos etc. The registration process will also tell you if you are interfering with trademarks of other companies. You find general information on trademarks in Africa here.
To register a name or trademark with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Department of Trade and Commerce you will need to obtain the following documents:
- Application for Reservation of Name or Shortened Form or Defensive Name
- Application of Registration of Trade mark form
- How to complete Trademark Application Form
- International Classification of Goods and Services
Registered Designs – to protect the design and “look” of a product you can register your design. A famous example is the shape of a Coke bottle: it is protected and you will not see anybody else using the same bottle shape for their drinks. You can register aesthetic designs that affect only “look and feel” of your product and functional designs that are needed as functioning features of your product.
To register a design in Namibia, please follow these guidelines.
If you have an invention that can be really applied you can consider filing a patent. A patent basically gives you protection for your idea so nobody else can use it without your approval in exchange for making it public. To file a patent your invention it must meet four criteria
- it must be new, that is it was not known anywhere in the world before
- it cannot be just a small modification or variation of a known technology and
- it must be possible to apply it – just having a vague idea is not enough, you need to develop the technology to make it really work!
- it has not been published. For example if you present your idea at a conference, in an interview, in a publication it becomes public knowledge and you cannot file a patent later!