Rina Gunter of Gunter Attorneys (est. 2011) is a patent attorney and Metallurgical and Chemical Engineer. She has a slew of business and professional awards and around 25 years of concentrated experience in the intricate field of IP law … and all that was obvious when she addressed our Eureka!MEET in January. Her talk answered some pressing questions for an engaged and participative audience.

Protecting your ideas, inventions and intellectual property is an important step of the invention process as anyone who has had a good idea will tell you. The words “I have to patent this” trip of the tongue and are more easily said than done – there is a lot to concentrate on when thinking about PATENTS. The system is a complicated one and needs a trusted specialist when you get there.
Let’s stop a moment and consider some definitions that may answer a few selected questions and put intellectual property law, specifically patents, into context.

What is IP Law?
Essentially IP law protects the products of the intellect which are capable of commercial exploitation.

Is a PATENT ATTORNEY the same as any other attorney?
No – it takes around 10 years to qualify as a patent attorney, as according to the S A Patents Act (57 of 1978) you need a professional technical qualification as well as a law degree. You also need to pass the Patent Examination Board exam (SAIIPL) and must be admitted as an attorney to the High Court of South Africa.

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