Trade Marks refer to a brand name, company name, slogan or logo. A Trade Mark identifies the services or goods of one entity and distinguishes it from another. Trade Mark examples include:
- Brand Name – Google, iPad, Facebook, Pepsi
- Slogan – “simpler, better, faster” (Standard Bank), “so good” (KFC)
- Logo – Colonel Sanders (KFC), Bunny (Playboy), Window (Microsoft)
A logo is a distinctive picture or symbol. A brand name or company name is a word / combination of words (e.g. LG Electronics). A slogan is a phrase or sentence. Logos, slogans and names provide a distinctive identity for your products and services. When you register a trade mark to your name, slogan or logo, no one else can use it, or one that is confusingly similar. A trade mark can only be protected and defended if it is registered. Un-registered trade marks may be defended in terms of common law.
The owner of the registered trade mark has exclusive right to use that mark. CIPRO administers the Register of Trade Marks which is the record of all the trade marks that have been formally applied for and registered in the Republic of South Africa. A registered trade mark can be protected forever, provided it is renewed every ten years upon payment of a renewal fee.
How to register my Trade Mark?
Contact a qualified and experienced trade mark attorney to register your trade mark. The trade mark attorney would require you to provide them with a copy of your intended trade mark as well as details of all products or services that you intend applying the trade mark to.
Trade marks are registered at the South African Trade marks Office and foreign trade mark registrations may be obtained should you wish to market your product in foreign countries.