The Harley-Davidson

Sound Trademark

Harley-Davidson, often abbreviated as Harley, is a motorcycle manufacturer in America. Harley-Davidson sells heavyweight motorcycles designed for cruising on the highway. Harley-Davidson sustains a loyal brand community which keeps active through Harley-Davidson clubs and events. Licensing of the Harley-Davidson brand and logo accounted for $40 million of the company’s net revenue in 2010.

Harleys have a distinctive design and exhaust note and in 1994, the company filed a sound trade mark application. The distinctive sound of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle engine is produced by V-twin, common crankpin motorcycle engines when in use. Harley-Davidson competitors opposed the trade mark application, arguing that cruiser-style motorcycles of various brands use a single-crankpin V-twin engine which produce a similar sound. These objections were followed by litigation. In 2000 Harley-Davidson dropped efforts to federally register its the sound of a Harley trade mark.

Harley Davidson Sound

More about Intellectual Property Law

The first step is to file a South African provisional patent application for your invention. This is done to obtain the earliest possible date from which to claim rights to your invention, much like an option to protect your invention.

Patent Attorneys
Our Intellectual Property law firm specialises in Patent and PCT National Phase applications in Africa including the following countries: South Africa, Angola, Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Nigeria, OAPI and ARIPO Contracting states.

In South Africa, the designs register is split into two sections. Firstly, an aesthetic design protects the appearance of an article, irrespective of the aesthetic value thereof. Secondly, a functional design protects the appearance of an article in as far as its appearance is necessitated by the function that the article is to perform.

Trademarks – Once a trade mark 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 in South Africa, your rights to the trade mark may last indefinitely. A registered trade mark can be protected forever.

In general, any original work made by a qualified person is eligible for copyright protection. Originality refers to the fact that the author must have created the work through the application of the author’s own creativity and labour. A qualified person refers to any national or resident of South Africa or a Berne Convention country.