The importance of trade secrets in business: Some things are better left unsaid


A key component in a good economy is the existence of competitive marketplaces. The success of a business is largely determined by its strategies and many businesses have ideas which give them a competitive edge but do not fall within the popular categories of intellectual property law comprising of copyright, trade marks, patents and designs. These ideas could potentially qualify as trade secrets, an often-overlooked category of intellectual property law which provides a unique form of protection.

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Popi Act coming into effect – what do you need to know to avoid being fined

Romany Thresher chats with Mercia Flynn from Kisch IP Intellectual Property Services, about the new POPI Act. Kisch IP has been entrenched in the history of South Africa for 146 years, assisting clients from individuals to multi-national corporations in all sectors, by safeguarding their intellectual property rights, both locally as well as internationally, worldwide.


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The Cannabis Bill – What you need to know

Interview discussion with Garth Kallis of Fairbridges, Wertheim and Beckham on the Cannabis bill which is still out for review.

Currently a private individual cannot sell or make a profit and can only be used for personal use. However, products made with cannabis, such as cannabis teas, herbs and CBD oils can be sold and bought, under certain laws and conditions.



Quantities of 600gms, if living alone, allowed for private use, not public or not for sale, otherwise not more than 1.2kgs for a couple. It is not allowed to be smoked near children or non-consenting adults. A person is allowed to carry 100grms on their person, but it must be concealed. It can be given as a gift but not for commercial benefit. If you are in out in public with 1kg or more, it will be presumed that you intend to sell it.

The bill differentiates between use for recreational purposes and that used for medicinal. Medicinal use is regulated by the Medicine Act. When the Bill becomes an act you will need a license to grow and, or to sell it.

There are now many stores selling CBD products. This is a very costly process so anyone intending to open a store needs to do their homework because it can be very costly. You will need a license and permission from the Medical Control board. It’s a complicated and costly process. Certain measures need to be put in place and it must meet the standards of the Medical Council. It’s imperative that you obtain proper legal advice before going down this route. Meeting the health standards can cost millions plus the fees and renewal of the license are things to take into consideration.

People are not sure whether they are allowed to grow it in their gardens. My advice is not to grow it until the Act is passed because at present there are no proper guidelines as to how much you can grow. The penalties for breaking the rules are very steep. For example, 15 years jail time for dealing. 4 years for smoking around children and 2 years for smoking around non-consenting adults.

At the moment the Bill is still in draft stage and only becomes law once it is passed and becomes an Act of law. Knowledge is power so it’s important to know the law because ignorance of the law is no ‘get out of jail free’ card. So until the Act is passed let us wait and see. We will revisit this at that time.

Royalty and relief in the midst of Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the pockets of many South African businesses and the situation has been no different in the franchise industry as the majority of franchisees are Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Most franchisees are classified as non-essential services and as a result, have been forced to close their businesses for the duration of the Covid 19 enforced lockdown. Even with the gradual phasing in of return to business, fast food franchisees remain closed for on-site consumption. Personal care franchisees such a beauty salons and hairdressers remain closed all together.

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Letter for landlord in the Covid-19 Pandemic

About the letter for landlord template

Due to the effects of COVID-19, non-essential goods/services retail tenants, a substantial number of which are franchised businesses, have been forced to cease trading during the lockdown period, resulting in their inability to pay rent.
To complicate matters further, most franchise agreements contain clauses stating that a franchisor may terminate the franchise agreement in the event that the franchisee breaches any material terms of its lease agreement.

Therefore, instead of breaching your lease agreement for non-payment of rentals, and in turn falling foul of your franchise agreement, it is strongly suggested that you immediately contact your landlord with a proposed payment plan setting out how you intend maintaining your business relationship with your landlord during the upcoming months whilst you navigate the “new normal” caused by this global pandemic.

Download this template which may be used as a guide to assist you with negotiating with your landlord.

Alex Protulis
+27 (0) 11 325 4201