CIPC’s Legislative Mandate

CIPC administers all or parts of fifteen (15) pieces of legislation relating to corporate and intellectual property regulation. Its mandate encompasses companies, close corporations, co-operatives, trade marks, patents, designs, aspects of copyright legislation and enforcement of rules and regulations in most of these areas of law.  CIPC’s primary institutional mandate is derived from the Companies Act, 2008, which establishes CIPC as a juristic person.

List of Acts



Companies Act , 2008 No 71 of 2008) Register companies, business rescue practitioners and corporate names, maintain data, regulate governance of and disclosure by companies, accredit dispute resolution agents; educate and inform about all laws, non-binding opinions and circulars, policy and legislative advice
Close Corporations Act, 1984 (Act 69 of 1984) Maintain data, regulate governance of and disclosure by close corporations
Share Blocks Control Act, 1980 (Act 59 of 1980) Regulate conduct and disclosure by share block schemes
Consumer Protection Act, 2008 (Act 68 of 2008) Register business names
Co-Operatives Act, 2005 (Act 14 of 2005) Register co-operatives, maintain data, regulate governance of and disclosure by co-operatives
Patents Act, 1978 (Act 57 of 1978) Register patents, maintain data, publish patent journal, administer Court of Commissioner of Patents
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), effective in South Africa from 16 March 1999 To provide for functioning of the CIPC as receiving, designated and elected office in terms of PCT.
Trade Marks Act, 1993 ( Act 194 of 1993) Register trade marks, maintain data, resolve disputes
Designs Act, 1993 (Act 195 of 1993) Register designs, maintain data, resolve disputes
Copyright Act, 1978 (Act 98 of 1978) Provide non-binding advice to the public
Registration of Cinematography Films Act, 1977 (Act 62 of 1977) Register films, maintain data
Performers Protection Act, 1967 (Act 11 of 1967) Accredit Collecting Societies; regulate their governance, conduct and disclosure
Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill, 2010 Record and co-ordinate search and seizure operations, oversee depots
The Counterfeit Goods Act Conduct and co-ordinate search and seizure operations, oversee depots

 Merchandise Marks Act, 1941 (Act 17 of 1941)

Unauthorised Use of State Emblems Act, 1961 (Act 37 of 1961)

Prevent and enforce the unauthorised use of state emblems

South Africa is a member of a number of important Treaties and Agreements and ensuring compliance with South Africa’s obligations in terms of these Treaties or Agreements.  CIPC administers these treaties on behalf of South Africa.  These Treaties and Agreements include the:

  • Paris Convention;
  • Patent Co-operation Treaty
  • Berne Convention
  • Budapest Treaty; and the
  • TRIPS Agreement

It is anticipated that South Africa will conclude accession to the Hague Agreement and the Madrid Protocol in the near future, which will require of CIPC to administer those Treaties as well.

The CIPC therefore has a substantial legislative compliance role in diverse areas of law. The mandate can be summarized as the registration of corporate entities, the protection of their identity and reputation and the regulation of their conduct and disclosure, as well as the registration and protection of intellectual property rights.

While registration is at the heart of the mandate, it must serve a higher purpose and contribute to the broader policy context.  This is the challenge that has confronted corporate and intellectual property registries around the world, as many have struggled to remain economically relevant. For that reason, the CIPC has paid particular attention to its policy context in order to gain an understanding of its broader mandate.