Brand names are used to identify and distinguish specific products, services or company names from that of competitors. Brand names can be in the form of signs, symbols, slogans, names, shapes and colours combined with any of the above to create a unique identification. The first step in protection of a brand name is that of trademark registration. It is also the most powerful and protective means. Another form is to register a brand name also as a company name and ensuring that domain name registration takes place for the particular brand name.

Brand names have value and can be sold with or without goodwill when a business is sold. Brand names furthermore are seen as investments. As such the Google brand name has tremendous value. Without trademark registration in all the classes within which one needs to get protection and in all the countries where you want to protect the name it will be foolish to invest excessive amounts into the marketing and development of a brand. Trademark registration provides the legal protection needed against the unauthorized usage of a brand name. Trademark protection for brand names can be enhanced to ensure maximum protection by following the steps below:

  • Select the trademark carefully to ensure that it is unique and will not easily become generic.
  • Register the trademark in as many as possible classes and countries.
  • Use the trademark often to protect against requests for cancellation.
  • Where possible make use of formats that will ensure that the brand can stand out such as all caps or italic when referring to your brand in documents.
  • Use the trademark registration mark whenever you make use of the brand name in text.
  • Make use of Internet technology such as Google Alerts to monitor the usage and reference to your brand name.

Contact one of our trademark attorneys for more information regarding services related to trademark applications, renewals and litigation in South Africa. Call us: +27 (0) 12 349 7800 or

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Salomé le Roux  Noelle Pearson