How to Register a Trade Mark

Intellectual Property
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Register a trade mark that uniquely identifies and distinguishes the products and services for which it is used. You can register a trade mark under the regulations of the South African Trade Marks Act No. 194 of 1993. The mark may be renewed indefinitely every 10 years to award exclusive usage rights. If you are serious about brand building then registering a trade mark for the specific brand should be a priority. Once registered, it will afford you the exclusive usage rights to the mark, the right to set-up a license agreement regarding the use thereof and assigning it. Consumers will come to recognise the brand and it will deter competitors from using a similar mark that may cause confusion with the public about the brand.

Examples of Trade Marks:

Name, Slogan, Logo, Shapes, Three-dimensional Marks, Colors, Holograms, Motions / Multimedia, Positions, Gestures, Olfactory (smells / scents), Sounds / Tunes, Tastes, Textures.

Marks that may NOT be Registered:

Emblems fall under the protection of the Merchandise Marks Act. The following are regarded as state emblems: Seal of the Republic, Coat of Arms of the Republic, National Monuments, The representations of the present and all former State Presidents.
National Flags – use may not be made of it in a trade mark. Use can be made of these state emblems only with the permission of the Minister of Trade and Industry, together with the consent of the owner of the state emblem and that of the National Monuments Council.
Words that are NOT capable of distinguishing for purposes of the Trade Marks Act:

Example – 24 HOURS
Example – The word CHEESE cannot serve as a trade mark for cheese
Example – The word SERVER cannot serve as a trade mark for computer related services

If you want to apply for trade mark rights you will need to provide us a copy of the intended mark as well as a signed power of attorney. We will complete the application forms and discuss the registration options with you. Where relevant, we will also file applications in other countries on your behalf. Before the mark is registered it must meet the requirements of registration such as being unique, applicable and distinguishing your goods and services from others.

We conduct the trade mark search on behalf of the client to ensure that there is no conflict with prior registered or pending marks. We can also conduct searches through the foreign trade mark offices. You may transfer the trade mark rights to another when for instance, selling the business. You may also set-up license agreements, which will be the case when establishing a franchise.

Smit & Van Wyk, Inc. is a well established and experienced intellectual property law firm in South Africa. We offer assistance regarding trade mark applications and maintenance in South Africa, and abroad. For trade mark applications, we require a copy of the mark intended for registration as well as a signed power of attorney. We will guide you through the application process and assist with meeting the requirements.

Trademark Search

It is advisable that the trademark be searched before the application is made. We can conduct searches through the records at the South African Trade marks Office. This will provide an indication of whether there are existing trademarks which are identical or similar to yours. Foreign trademark searches may also be conducted, should you wish to have a search conducted through the trade mark offices of foreign countries. A search has to be conducted to make sure there is no similar or identical trade mark on the register preventing the registration of your trademark.