A trademark is a name, slogan or logo that distinguishes the brand of one entity from another. CIPC administers the Register of Trademarks in the Republic of South Africa. The trademark registration process in South Africa is quite lengthy, which is due to various administrative backlogs at the Registry.

South African Trademarks Facts:

  • A name, slogan or logo provide distinctive identities and can apply to both products and services.
    • A brand name is a word or combination of words (e.g. Kentucky Fried Chicken).
    • A slogan is a short phrase or a sentence.
    • A logo is a distinctive picture or symbol.
  • New trademark applications may be lodged manually or electronically.
  • When a trademark has been registered, nobody else can use this mark (or one that is confusingly similar).
  • Unregistered trademarks may be defended in terms of common law.
  • A registered trademark can be protected forever (provided it is renewed every 10 years).
  • If your registered trademark has not been used for a continuous period of 5 years, another person may apply to have it removed from the Register.
  • “24 HOURS” cannot be registered as a trademark.
  • “MILK” cannot serve as a trademark for milk products or services, but can be registered for any other industry such as computer related services.
  • Invented words, logos or pictures are generally distinctive if not copied or become customary in the trade.
  • Most of the  trademark applications rejected by CIPC are because of infringements, submission errors or incorrect classes.
  • Trademarks are territorial and it is therefore necessary to register a trademark in all countries in which your business has operations, or in which your products will be sold.

A trademark registration is proof of your legally protected rights. A registered trademark is an asset that has value… it may be licensed, franchised, and sold.

Trademarks are registered at the CIPC and foreign trademark registrations may be obtained should you wish to market your product in foreign countries.