RINA GUNTER (MRS) t/a GUNTER ATTORNEYS
- 1993 B.Sc (Metallurgy, Chemistry) (University of Pretoria)
- 1998 B.Proc (cum laude) (UNISA)
- 1998 Admitted as Attorney of the High Court of South Africa
- 1999 Registered as Patent Attorney
- 2000 Registered as Fellow of the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law
2. PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYMENT HISTORY
- 1994 – 1997 Patent Candidate Attorney at D M KISCH INC
- 1998 – 1999 Qualified Patent Attorney; Associate at D M KISCH INC
- 2000 – 2006 Partner in the Patent Department at D M KISCH INC
- Sept 2006 – Feb 2011 Partner in the Patent Chemistry Department at SPOOR & FISHER
- March 2011 – Date Founding partner: GUNTER ATTORNEYS
- Total number of years in the profession: + 20
3. PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS
- 2010: One of three finalists in CEO Magazine’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards, Legal Sector.
- Past judge of the SABS Design Institute Prototype Awards – two consecutive years.
- Past judge of the annual Technology Top 100 Companies in South Africa competition – two consecutive years.
- Past lecturer for the SAIIPL in the course “SA Design Law and Practice” – four consecutive years.
- Radio guest presenter on IP on numerous occasions (Radio RSG – “Wat sê die prokureur?”; Radio Pretoria – “Praat saam”).
- Past EXCO member: SA Group of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI).
- Fellow of the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL).
- Member of the Patent Law Committee of the SAIIPL.
- Presenter at local and international seminars.
- 2009: Travelled to Brazil for three weeks to promote Brazilian businesses to enter South Africa, Mozambique and Angola. Presentations given to Brazilian businesses annexed widespread local and national media coverage in Brazil (articles annexed). Brazilian clients that I have represented include Petrobras, Marco Polo, APEX-Brazil and Camargo Correa.
- 2010: Interviewed by the Brazilian national newspaper, “Estadao”, on the protection of Brazilian brands and technology in SA. Article published on 27 April 2010.
- 2010: Organised hosting of the Brazilian Ambassador to SA and members of the Brazilian Embassy at Spoor & Fisher’s offices in Centurion, with a view to exploiting new business opportunities; Main presenter at this conference.
- March 2011: Started the boutique IP law firm “Gunter Attorneys”.
- March 2011: Invited to be a mentor for CEO Magazine’s Young Professional Women National Conference.
- August 2011: Invited by Financier Worldwide to contribute an exclusive article about IP law in SA (article attached).
- September 2011: Invited guest speaker at the ARMSA (Association of Rotational Moulders of SA) Annual National Conference at Kwa Maritane on the protection if IP in SA and Africa.
- October 2011: Invited guest speaker at Radical Waters International Business Leaders Conference on international patent strategies.
- January 2013: Gunter Attorneys received the Global Award for the “2013 Intellectual Property Law Firm of the Year – South Africa” in the small firms category. We received this award from Corporate LiveWire, the largest European law firm. The Global Awards honor the firms and individuals who have demonstrated excellence in the corporate, legal and finance world, internationally, and particularly look for those who have consistently shown best practice and innovation in their work.
- February 2013: Invited to become a panel member of the Institute of Inventors.
- February 2013: Guest speaker at the Success Academy’s monthly business breakfast in Centurion.
- June 2013: Gunter Attorneys was a category winner of the ACQ
- Global Awards 2013 for South Africa, attracting 14% of the national votes for “Intellectual Property Law Firm of the Year”.
4. PROFESSIONAL SKILLS
- Drafting of patent specifications, particularly in the technical fields of chemistry, biochemistry, electro-chemistry, metallurgy, mining, mineral processing, agrichemical and food processing technology, as well as in the mechanical and building technologies, both on behalf of South African and foreign-based clients.
- Prosecuting to grant patent applications internationally, both on behalf of South African and foreign-based clients.
- Preparing and filing design applications in South Africa, both on behalf of South African and foreign-based clients.
- Registering design applications internationally, both on behalf of South African and foreign-based clients.
- Preparing and filing trade mark applications in South Africa, both on behalf of South African and foreign-based clients.
- Preparing and filing trade mark applications internationally, both on behalf of South African and foreign-based clients.
- Conducting various patent, design and trade mark name and subject matter searches to establish “state of the art” IP portfolios.
- Providing numerous patentability and infringement opinions in view of existing and/or competing prior art and technologies.
- Drafting several commercial contracts relating to the development, protection, exploitation and/or division of IP assets, including R&D and associated IP ownership agreements.
- Advising foreign clients on the legal correctness of patent specifications filed into South Africa from abroad, and amending those patent specifications where required.
- High Court litigation pertaining to patent and design matters, passing off and unlawful competition, as well as copyright infringement.
- Domain Name Registrations.
- Registration of Plant Breeders’ Rights
5. CLIENTS REPRESENTED (non-exhaustive list)
- ANGLO PLATINUM
- ANGLO GOLD ASHANTI
- ROCHE MOLECULAR SYSTEMS (USA)
- ROCHE DIAGNOSTICS (SA)
- BHP BILLITON
- ELEMENT SIX
- EVRAZ HIGHVELD STEEL & VANADIUM
- ISCOR / IPCOR
- MCG INDUSTRIES
- NUWORLD INDUSTRIES
- VANCHEM VANADIUM PRODUCTS
- UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA
- RADICAL WATERS INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
- OIL SEPERATION SOLUTIONS
ANNEX: GETTING PUBLISHED IN BRAZIL
São Paulo – 30 de setembro de 2009
África se esforça para garantir registros de marcas
Países africanos têm se esforçado para oferecer garantias às empresas estrangeiras interessadas em investir no continente. Um das garantias fundamentas é o registro de marcas. Na área de propriedade intelectual, há leis em quase todos os 60 países do continente que garantem os registros de marcas e patentes. Catorze deles são signatários do Protocolo de Madrid. Existem duas entidades regionais especializadas em propriedade intelectual. Ainda assim, o registro é bastante precário, mas funciona. Nos últimos seis anos, de acordo com a advogada sul-africana Rina Gunter, do escritório também sul-africano Spoor & Fisher, empresas investem não só nas áreas em que tradicionalmente a áfrica costuma ser procurada, como farmacêutica, de petróleo ou mineração. Novas marcas e produtos têm chegado aos países e, com isso, a discussão sobre registros de marcas, patentes e design ganha relevância. Segundo ela, a desorganização e a falta de tecnologia ainda complicam os registros. Na Nigéria, por exemplo, o registro de patentes é feito a mão, em um livro de anotações. A classificação é difícil de entender e a pesquisa sobre o status do pedido de registro se dá página por página. O registro de marcas é um pouco melhor, de acordo com a advogada. Há arquivos informatizados, mas ainda não é possível fazer pesquisa, pois não há um banco de dados. No Zimbábue, cada empresa tem de enviar à instituição responsável pelo registro um papel com o desenho da marca. A ilustração receberá um número, escrito a mão em qualquer parte branca do desenho, e será colada no caderno de folhas sem pauta onde estão centralizados todos os registros. ?Mesmo parecendo uma bagunça, o registro funciona bem?, diz Rina Gunter. O escritório Spoor & Fisher, do qual faz parte, foi criado em 1920 na áfrica do Sul e atua em 19 países do continente. Rina esteve no Brasil nesta semana a convite do escritório brasileiro Velloza, Girotto e Lindenbojm Advogados Associados para dar uma visão geral sobre a legislação de propriedade intelectual na áfrica. Em Angola, segundo relatos da advogada, existem dois computadores no escritório de registros: um para patentes e um para marcas. Não há servidor e nenhum deles tem backup, mas é possível usá-los para pesquisar registros feitos a partir de maio de 2005. A Organização Mundial de Propriedade Intelectual (Ompi) deu apoio à Organização Africana de Propriedade Intelectual (Oapi) para criar um banco de dados das patentes. No entanto, só constam aquelas registradas nos 16 países que integram a entidade. Na áfrica inteira, 14 países assinaram o Protocolo de Madrid, acordo internacional que permite que o registro de marca feito em um dos 84 países membros, somados aos da União Europeia que também o integra, valha para todos os membros (o Brasil não é signatário ainda). Ainda assim, na áfrica, para que a proteção seja eficaz, a advogada Rina aconselha a empresa a fazer um registro da marca em cada um dos países em que estiver presente. Há países que assinaram o Protocolo de Madrid, mas a legislação nacional diz que os tratados internacionais não têm efeito sobre o território nacional quando não estão de acordo com as leis locais. A maior parte dos países africanos tem legislação própria sobre propriedade intelectual, baseada nas leis dos seus colonizadores, como Reino Unido, França, Portugal e Espanha. De acordo com a advogada, a obtenção de cópias das leis em vigor no país não é fácil. Elas não estão disponíveis na internet. Portanto, o seu escritório precisa viajar até o país quando descobre que houve alguma alteração na lei. Brasil e áfrica Mesmo com todas essas dificuldades, os investimentos nos africanos crescem. O mercado está se expandindo. Segundo a advogada do escritório Spoor & Fisher, nos últimos anos, o continente africano tem recebido empresas de alta tecnologia, telecomunicações, infraestrutura como um todo e de plantas transgênicas. Segundo o advogado Emile Myburgh, do escritório sul-africano Emile Myburgh Attorneys, contribuíram para uma maior confiança nos países a edição de novas leis que dão proteção aos investimentos, garantem a propriedade industrial e os direitos de importação. Ele afirma que a economia de Angola, por exemplo, cresceu 92% de 1992 a 2007. ?No ano passado, com a queda no valor do petróleo, houve uma desaceleração na economia?, observa, mas nada que vá comprometer a guinada do país. O número de contas bancárias, de financiamentos de casas e de empréstimos para a abertura de negócios, segundo o advogado, está cada vez maior. Nos primeiros quatro meses de 2009, de acordo com dados do Ministério do Desenvolvimento, as exportações brasileiras para o continente africano somaram US$ 2,77 bilhões, enquanto o movimento inverso, de importações de produtos brasileiros pela áfrica (continente), totalizou US$ 1,826 bilhão. áfrica do Sul e Angola são os principais alvos dos brasileiros. Dos produtos exportados pelo Brasil para a áfrica do Sul em 2009, 78,6% foram produtos manufaturados, 18,4%, produtos básicos e 2,9%, produtos semimanufaturados. A áfrica do Sul é dependente de importações industriais, como bens de capital e matérias primas, que perfazem 80% das importações. As vendas para Angola, em 2008, alcançaram quase US$ 2 bilhões em 2008, sendo mais de 80% em produtos industrializados. Com isso, Angola passou a ocupar a 24ª posição entre os destinos das exportações brasileiras, à frente de países como Canadá, áfrica do Sul, Emirados árabes Unidos, Austrália e índia, segundo dados da Agência Brasileira de Promoção de Exportações e Investimentos (Apex-Brasil).
Fonte: Consultor Jurídico
Data: 10/10/2009 – 09:28:00
The same article was also published here: http://www.conjur.com.br/2009-out-10/africa-busca-investimentos-esforca-garantir-registros-marcas
ANNUAL REVIEW – INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Rina Gunter, Gunter Attorneys
Have there been any recent legislative or regulatory developments in your country that will affect intellectual property going forward?
The Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) affirms that states have sovereign rights over their biological resources and specifically provides that member countries must respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous communities, and encourage equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of the knowledge, innovations and practices. As a member state of the CBD, South Africa enacted the National Environment Management Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA), and regulations relating to bioprospecting, access to indigenous biological resources (IBRs), and benefit sharing came into effect on 1 April 2008. In addition, the South African Patents Act No 57 of 1978 has been amended to require that a patent applicant must complete a declaration indicating whether the invention is based on or derived from an IBR or genetic resource or from traditional knowledge or use.
A fairly young development in South Africa, although not new or unique to South Africa, is in the area of ‘biomimicry’. Biomimicry is the practice of learning from and emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies to solve human problems and create more sustainable designs. Animals, plants and microbes are the consummate engineers and nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with such as energy, food production, climate control, non-toxic chemistry, transportation, packaging, and a whole lot more. Instead of harvesting organisms, or domesticating them to accomplish a function for us, biomimicry ‘consults’ organisms and ecosystems to apply the underlying design principles to innovations. We look forward to a lot more exciting intellectual property resulting from this practice.
The Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectant’s Act of 1972 and accompanying regulations governs the labelling of foodstuffs in South Africa. These regulations were recently modified to assist consumers even more in making informed choices about food. From 1 March 2012 all food labels must comply with the new regulations. Regulation 13, for example, provides, inter alia, that food labels and advertisements may not contain prohibitive statements, such as words, pictures, marks or descriptions which create the impression that the food is endorsed by a health practitioner; an endorsement or testimonial of an individual in any form if that endorsement or testimonial implies a nutrition claim; or a claim that a foodstuff provides complete or balanced nutrition, among others. These prohibitions extend to the use of trademarks and descriptive terms, so trademark portfolios need to be revisited to ensure compliance with Regulation 13.
What advice would you give to companies on patent protection and enforcement? How important is it to police and monitor IP rights in today’s global marketplace?
The patent system exists to protect new inventions and to allow an inventor to prevent others from copying his/her ideas and, often time-consuming and costly research, so that the inventor can enjoy the full advantage derived from the invention. However, the patenting process is expensive and time-consuming and it is important that only those inventions that exhibit true commercial exploitation potential are protected. Before filing a patent application it is important to determine if patent protection is the suitable form of IP protection for the type of invention. Also, an applicant should understand the market, competition, and the need for the invention locally and internationally. It is advisable to conduct patentability searches to ascertain whether the invention is new and inventive and thus patentable. Lastly, understand the costs of patenting and define a patent filing strategy, given the costs, market place and likely competitors. Periodically review your IP portfolio and define criteria by which the IP portfolio is maintained and focused. Take account of staff turnover to ensure IP awareness remains in the forefront of your workforce. Recognise those staff who make IP contributions, bearing in mind that know-how usually resides with key personnel and is only of value whilst confidential. At the same time, ensure that employment contracts adequately address IP ownership of and confidentiality obligations in inventions made by employees.
In your opinion, should IP due diligence be considered an essential part of M&A transactions? What are the main areas that acquirers need to address?
The IP portfolio is often the most important asset of a company and an IP due diligence exercise is of critical importance in any M&A transaction. It is of paramount importance to identify IP for harvesting and to define internal criteria which selects IP for protection. Ensure that valuable IP is protected and maintained. Identify IP suitable for licensing and/or transfer. Conduct a due diligence on third party IP in order to value your own by comparison. Establish a ‘freedom to operate’ arrangement to minimise the risk of infringing third party IP. Identify which IP is not registrable and establish a vehicle to ensure that such IP and all know-how is not only kept confidential, but is also properly documented and transferred.
What advice would you give to companies on contractual issues surrounding IP rights? What key clauses should be included in contracts to account for the possibility of future disputes arising from an agreement?
All agreements pertaining to IP rights should be in writing. Any IP assignments and/or licensing agreements must be recorded at the SA Patent Office in order to be enforceable against third parties. Ensure that the scope of the IP is properly defined in the agreement and that the agreement addresses know how, experience and data of a technical, operational, administrative, financial or business nature, as well as memoranda, correspondence, notebooks, articles, samples, test results, prototypes, and so on. IP agreements should also address what happens when a recipient of the IP in question becomes legally compelled to disclose the IP and to which extent such a recipient is obliged to assist a discloser of the IP to seek a protective remedy against disclosure of confidential information. Very importantly, an IP agreement should address the issue of improvements, developments, adaptations and/or modifications, and any new inventions or discoveries, based on or resulting from use of the IP to which the agreement pertains. For example, will the recipient be obliged to disclose to the discloser all such improvements, developments, adaptations and/or modifications, inventions or discoveries, and to assist the discloser in attaining, maintaining or documenting ownership and/or patent protection of any such improvements and the like? Who will be responsible for the associated expenses? And where will such a recipient’s obligations end?
Attorney of the High Court of South Africa
+27 12 997 3098
Rina Gunter is a South African patent attorney who specialises in the drafting, filing and prosecuting of local and international patents, designs and trade-marks applications into South Africa and Africa. She is a metallurgical engineer with an advanced chemistry background, and has worked in the mining, mineral processing, water purification, food processing and agricultural chemistry technologies. In 2010 she was elected as one of three finalists in CEO Magazine’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards in South Africa, Legal Sector.
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This is your personal invitation to our next Senior Executive Networking Breakfast!
You can invite 2 of your clients, who aren't in our parks, to join you at the breakfast.
So we can accommodate 2 executives from each company and 2 of your clients.
Rina Gunter, Managing Partner: Gunter Attorneys – A boutique intellectual property law firm
The South African government is increasingly highlighting the integral and critical role of intellectual property (“IP”) in the economic growth and development of South Africa and Africa as a whole. It is encouraging companies to implement strategies to establish strong IP regimes that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, and so improve trade and investment.
Do you know what intellectual assets you have and how to go about protecting those?
Do you know what types of IP rights are registrable in South Africa and what the requirements are for each?
Rina will help you to understand the various options, risks and costs associated with each, as well as the requirements that need to be satisfied to turn your ideas into assets.
Rina is a qualified Metallurgical Engineer and Patent Attorney, and has been in private practice for over 19 years. After 17 years as a senior partner in two of the biggest IP law firms in South Africa, she founded Gunter Attorneys in March 2011. The firm specialises in various aspects of intellectual property law in SA, Africa and internationally, including drafting, filing and prosecuting to grant, patents, trade marks and industrial designs, copyright matters, and litigation, dispute resolution and commercial agreements relating to intellectual property law.
In 2010, Rina was chosen as one of three finalists in CEO Magazine’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards, Legal Sector. In February 2013, Gunter Attorneys received the award for the “2013 Intellectual Property Law Firm of the Year – South Africa” in the small firms category, from Corporate LiveWire, the largest European law firm. Rina has done work for Anglo Platinum, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Kumba, Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium, Vanchem Vanadium Products, and Sasol.
Date: Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Time: 7am for 7:15am
Venue: Irene Country Lodge,
Nellmapius Road, Irene
Programme: 7:15am – Welcome by Charl du Toit
7:30am – Rina Gunter
8:00 – 9:00am – Breakfast & Networking