From biology to trade marks: finding his dream job

From biology to trade marks: finding his dream job

He started his academic career exploring structures and functions of cells, proceeded to study law, and is currently working on his PhD degree in trade marks. It is in a sea of brands that Gert van Deventer found his dream job, as Trademark and Short Courses Officer at Innovus.


For him, the world of trade marks is one of the most exciting study fields. With more than 49 million active trade marks world-wide, there is undoubtedly enough research material around.


Gert first did his BSc degree in molecular biology and then joined the Law Faculty. After completing his LLB degree, he did his Masters in intellectual property Law and after that his PhD in trade marks under Prof Sadulla Karjiker, who has held SU’s Intellectual Property Chair from 2016.


"For the first time in a long time, I am doing a job which I am extremely interested in," says Gert. "Every day at work is different and exciting. For me it is unbelievable to what extent people will go to protect their trade marks. It just shows how important it is," says Gert.


He believes it is crucial for an institution like SU to protect its trade mark and to ensure that no other branding or "clutter" harm the brand. "Even Pokkel, the University's squirrel mascot, is an important part of the bigger brand family that needs protection," says Gert.


The world of trade marks is colourful and competitive, says Gert who regards brands such as Apple, CocaCola and McDonalds (not the burgers!) as some of the most influential brands in the world today. 


Gert says Innovus is the place where people create their "brain babies" which become their property that we help to protect for them. "These are all small beginnings which have successful endings. Innovus is the place where we hold the hands of small entrepreneurs and guide them until they are ready to fulfil their bigger ideals. And in the process, we generate valuable additional revenue for the University and contribute to the bigger South African economy."


Gert sees entrepreneurship as the future of South Africa. He wishes to contribute to help small business to protect their intellectual property so that they can further explore and grow their businesses.