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International guest speaker: The protection of useful Law articles

Hosted by the Faculty of Law at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Professor Jane Ginsburg, a world renowned specialist in copyright law, delivered a lecture on the protection of useful Law articles on the 19th of February.

In her lecture she dealt with what American law sees as “useful articles”, in other words things such as a butter knife or hair dryer. She discussed various tests that their courts have used to test the scope of “protection”. According to Prof Wim Alberts, Intellectual Property specialist and Professor at the University of Johannesburg Faculty of Law, “this is also of value in South Africa, as our designs legislation are similar in terms of the distinction between functional and aesthetic articles. The outcome of a problem in our law and American law may in certain cases then accordingly be the same.”

Prof Ginsburg is a professor of Intellectual Property Kat at Columbia University in New York. She has a BA and a MA degree from University of Chicago, a JD from Harvard (cum laude), and a Doctor of Laws from the University of Paris. She is the daughter of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the American Supreme Court. At one stage both she and her mother were part of the faculty at Columbia, a first mother–daughter pair to serve on the same law faculty in the United State. She has also written legal articles in French. She is also a member of the British Academy.


Prof Jane Ginsburg
Professor Jane Ginsburg
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