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How to File a Trade Mark

Trade Mark Applications in South Africa

registered trademark represents the mark that distinguishes your products / services from others. Trademarks are filed with the intellectual property office in Pretoria an will be subject to certain requirements. A trademark may be filed by a qualified trademark attorney or trademark practitioner.

Step 1
Do a search: It is advisable that the trademark be searched before the application is filed. Your trademark must be capable of distinguishing your products / services from those of your competitors. We conduct a search through the records of the South African Trademarks Office.

Step 2
File the trademark application with the intellectual property office. When a trademark (Name, Slogan, Logo, Shapes, 3D Marks, Colours) has been filed, competitors may not use your mark, or one that is confusingly similar. Once a trademark is registered in South Africa, it needs to be renewed every 10 years to stay in force. Trademarks may be renewed indefinitely, thereby ensuring the continuity of your brand.

Information required to file a Trade Mark

In order to file a trademark we would require a copy of your intended trademark – be it a simple name or slogan, or a stylised logo. It would also require details of all products or services that you intend applying the trademark to (you have to file a separate trademark application in each of the international classes relating to your products / services.)

Trademark Search
(advise if a search is required)

Full names and a copy of ID, passport or registration documents.
Physical and postal address of the applicant.

What is the mark to be protected? If it is a logo, please send an electronic copy.

Describe the relevant goods or services. South Africa uses the classification of the International (NICE) Classification of Goods and Services.

Invoice Details
Entity to be invoiced and VAT registration number (if applicable)

International Trademark Filing

There is no such thing as an international trademark, but some international agreements make it possible to file a single TM registration in more than one country.

  • BOIP (Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.)
  • Community Trademark (protects a trademark in all the member states of the European Union.)
  • Madrid Agreement (protects a trademark in all the member states.)
  • OAPI or ARIPO protects a trademark in all the member states. (Africa)

You should file a trademark in the countries in which you offer your products or services and you should also consider filing in countries where you intend to use the mark in the future, but some countries do have use requirements.

It is highly recommended that you contact trade mark attorneys to assist you with filing and registering your trade mark. Trade mark attorneys will not only advise you on the best way to ensure that your trade marks are properly protected, but will also deal with all the formalities on your behalf, making the process as effective as possible.


Inventions, Ideas, New, Inventive and Useful, Gadgets, Biotech


Appearance, Aesthetic, Functional, Industrial Design, Design Patents

Tarde Marks

Name, Slogan, Logo, Shapes, 3D Marks, Holograms, Motions


Literary, Musical, Artistic, Sound Recordings, Broadcasts, Photography


Buying or Starting a Franchise, Franchise Agreements

Intellectual Property in Africa

Smit & Van Wyk Intellectual Property services spans across the entire African continent. Patent, PCT National Phase applications and Trade Mark filings in most African countries, OAPI and ARIPO.

Many African countries form part of ARIPO or OAPI allowing for the filing of only one application to obtain protection in multiple territories. These regional systems reduce the administrative burden of those countries and support a better output of the relevant laws.

Most applications / filings
South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Kenya, Angola, Tanzania, Mauritius, Tunisia, Zambia, Ethiopia.