Trade Marks refer to a name, logo or slogan. A Trade Mark identifies the services or goods of one entity and distinguishes it from another. 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. CIPC 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 your Trademark:
Contact a qualified and experienced trademark attorney to register your trademark. The trademark 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. Trademarks are registered at the South African Intellectual Property Office (CIPC) and foreign trademark registrations may be obtained should you wish to market your product in foreign countries.
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.
Once a logo is registered as a trademark in South Africa, it needs to be renewed every 10 years to stay in force. A registered logo can be protected forever, provided it is renewed every 10 years upon payment of the renewal fee. 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 Registrar. It is advisable to do a formal search for any similar registered logos before you apply for your logo trademark.
Once a trademark is registered in South Africa, it needs to be renewed every 10 years to stay in force. However, provided you continue renewing your trade mark registration, your rights to the trademark may last indefinitely. If your registered trademark has not been used in South Africa for a continuous period of 5 years, another person may apply to have it removed from the Register.