Trade Mark Facts South Africa

A trade mark is a name, slogan or logo that distinguishes the brand of one entity from another. CIPC administers the register of trade marks in South Africa. The trade mark registration process in South Africa is quite lengthy, which is due to various administrative backlogs at the registry. Trade marks 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. The Smit & Van Wyk trade mark team can manage your African trade mark portfolio from our offices in South Africa. We offer advice on all aspects of trade mark filing, prosecution and litigation across the African continent.

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 trade marks 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 trade mark.

“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  trade mark applications rejected by CIPC are because of infringements, submission errors or incorrect classes.

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

Trade marks are registered at the CIPC and foreign trade mark registrations may be obtained should you wish to market your product in foreign countries.

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