PATTERNING SUCCESS THROUGH STRONG IP STRATEGIES

Beyoncé may have drawn further attention to his name when she endorsed his luxury designs in a blog post on Saturday, but Laduma Ngxokolo says the brand boost is only one step in the right direction. These were his comments to John Robbie on 702 after being asked about the ‘shout out’ by the pop icon of Destiny’s Child fame.

MaXhosa, a fashion label that uses traditional bead work motifs and patterns of 702 & Cape Talk

Laduma Ngxokolo is already an internationally acclaimed and award-winning textile designer of ethnic-inspired knitwear. A young proudly African Port Elizabeth-based designer, Laduma’s talent was nurtured early by his late mother, Lindelwa Ngxokolo.

His journey to internationally recognised and highly sought-after designer is nothing short of spellbinding. “My passion for knitwear began when I used to help my mother machine-knit garments for sale,” says Laduma.  His first hands-on experience of textile design was during his high school days at Lawson Brown High School in Port Elizabeth.

In 2010, his design work titled ‘The Colourful World of the Xhosa Culture’, a translation of South African mohair and merino wool men’s knitwear inspired by traditional Xhosa beadwork, won the international Society of Dyers and Colourists (SDC) Design Award in London.

Laduma’s designs are unique and different in the world design arena. As a young designer and entrepreneur he is very aware of his intellectual property rights and the need to protect his design.  He filed applications to register some of his designs for his knitwear and the wall clock design.  He also filed trade mark applications to protect his brands LADUMA NGXOKOLO and MAXHOSA BY LADUMA.

“I see my designs as my assets and I am well aware that there are copycats all over the world who would happily knock off original designs. Young designers and creatives need to focus on protecting their brands and designs.  As an entrepreneur, you have to focus on both the creative and the business side.”

Laduma has worked with Adams & Adams on protecting his intellectual property.  Mariette du Plessis, senior partner, who has been involved in Laduma’s IP portfolio, says “It is refreshing to come across a young South African designer who realises the value of his creativity and the need to protect it.  Laduma’s designs are unique, yet very South African and have made an enormous impact wherever exhibited.  For that reason, Laduma is wisely taking the necessary steps to protect his brands in South Africa and we shall also assist him with his IP portfolio abroad.“

“Laduma will be a role model for young designers, as he has not only focused on the creative side, but is equally focused on his business, which will stand him in good stead in the long run,” says du Plessis.

AN IP PATTERN FOR YOUNG DESIGNERS

We asked Mariette du Plessis for advice for young creatives who want to learn lessons from Laduma’s success.

“My message to creatives is to learn from Laduma’s example. Do searches on the internet before you adopt your brand.  Then conduct searches at the Trade Marks Office to ensure that you do not infringe on anyone’s rights.  Register your brand as a domain name, on Facebook and as your Twitter handle to ensure that somebody else does not pinch it and, most importantly, apply to register your brand and design (or both). Design protection gives a very strong monopoly and there are 32 categories in which your design can be registered. This is especially important for jewellery, textile and wallpaper designers, as it is only relevant for designs that will be multiplied and not for once off art works. Those will qualify for copyright protection. Prevention is always better than cure and to protect your creative rights is the best way to ensure that only you benefit from your creations.“

Mariette_Du Plessis

Mariëtte du Plessis

Partner
Trade Mark Attorney

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