Tana Pistorius is a Professor of Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law in the University of South Africa. She teaches Intellectual Property Law and Legal Aspects of e-Commerce at under- and postgraduate levels.
She also teaches modules of the Unisa-WIPO Intellectual Property Specialization Programme, presented jointly by the Centre for Business Law and the WIPO Worldwide Academy. Also for the Academy, from 1999 to 2003 she was an online tutor for the module General Course on Intellectual Property Law, and since 2004 she has taught the online module Electronic Commerce and Intellectual Property.
She is a faculty member of the International Cyberlaw Clinic, and has presented various ecommerce training workshops for magistrates and prosecutors.
She obtained her LLM degree from the University of Pretoria for a dissertation entitled “The Copyrightability and Patentability of Computer Programs — an International Survey and Recommendations for Legislative Reform in the Republic of South Africa”. She then obtained her doctorate from the same university for a thesis entitled “The Copyright and Design Protection of Artistic Works with a Utilitarian Purpose”.
She is a qualified attorney and a notary of the High Court. Her fields of specialization include Intellectual Property Law, e-Commerce and Information Technology Law. She has a special research interest in issues affecting developing countries, and has delivered papers on these topics at conferences and seminars in various African countries (including The Gambia, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe), and in Bulgaria, Canada, Egypt, Germany, and the Ukraine.
She has received various research grants and scholarships, including from the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law in Munich. In 2006 she was awarded a Georg Forster Research Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She is a research fellow of the Foundation.
She has been actively involved in policy formulation at national and international levels. From 1997 to 1998, she was a member of the Subcommittee for Designs of the Intellectual Property Advisory Committee, a statutory body advising the South African government. In 2001, she was invited by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) to participate in an expert group meeting regarding the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce. In the same year she contributed to three research papers commissioned by the Department of Communications. She was a member of the research team that drafted the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002. She is the author of chapter 4 of the Namibian Draft ICT Policy Document (2001), and, in 2004, was appointed by the Office of the Prime Minister of Namibia as lead consultant for the team drafting the Namibian law on e-commerce — the Draft Use of Electronic Communications and Transactions Bill, 2005.
In 2000, she was a member of the Electronic Copyright Task Team of the South African Universities Vice Chancellors Association (SAUVCA). From 2000 to 2005, she was a member of the judging panel for the SABS Design Institute Awards for Industrial Design and Engineering Design. From 1999 to 2003, she was the assistant editor of the South African Mercantile Law Journal, a peer review law journal with its editorial home in the Department of Mercantile Law.
She is a member of the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property (ATRIP), the International Association of IT Lawyers (IAITL), the International Trademark Association (INTA), the South African Association of Law Teachers (SALT), and ISG Legal SIG. She is an associate of the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL), and a member of its Alternate Dispute Resolution committee. She is a senior adjudicator of the SAIIPL alternate dispute resolution panel for the .za domain-name.