Trademark a Company Name
Do not mistake the registration of a company with that of registering a trademark. It is possible to register a company in South Africa without registering the trademark. It is recommended that you also register the trademark the name of the company to build and protect the brand. To register a trademark for a company name will provide exclusive rights to that name, and grounds for litigation should someone produce, sell or trade under your name. Registered trademarks add value to a company because the name in itself then becomes a commodity that can be transferred or licensed for usage through an agreement. A trademark is registrable if it serves the purpose of distinguishing the goods/services of one trader from those of another trader. It does not consist exclusively of a sign or an indication which may serve, in trade, to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin or other characteristics of your goods or services, or the mode or time of their production or of rendering of the services. The mark should not be customary in your field of trade and should not represent protected emblems, such as the national flag or a depiction of a national monument such as Table Mountain. The mark should not be offensive or contrary to the law or good morals or deceptive by nature or way of use. There should be no earlier conflicting rights.
A registered trademark can be protected forever, provided it is renewed every 10 years upon payment of the prescribed renewal fee. 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. We provide a range of trademark services including trademark searches to determine whether a similar trade mark has been registered, filing an application on your behalf, and ensuring that the name you want registered does indeed qualify. Contact us to help you with the application process and for any license agreements that you may need.
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.
There is no such thing as an International Trade Mark
Various international agreements make it possible to file a single logo registration in more than one country:
BOIP (Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands)
Community Trademark (European Union)
Madrid Agreement (97 Contracting Parties)
OAPI (17 French speaking member states in Africa)
ARIPO (19 English speaking member states in Africa)
You should file a trade mark 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.
Trademark Registration Requirements
In order to register your trademark, we require the follwoing information. This is necessary, as one has to file a separate trademark application in each of the classes related to your product(s) / service(s). Trademarks applications are filed at the South African Trademarks Office (CIPC) and foreign trademark registrations may be obtained should you wish to market your product in foreign countries.
Trademark Search – We will advise if a trademark search is required.
Applicant – Full names and a copy of ID. Physical and postal address of the applicant.
Trademark – A copy of your intended trademark (name, slogan or logo). If it is a logo, an electronic copy of the logo must be supplied.
Class(es) – Details of all products or services that you intend applying the trademark to. Describe the relevant goods or services arroding to the Nice Classification of Goods and Services.
Invoice Details – Entity to be invoiced and VAT registration number (if applicable)
Countries to File In – We need to quote on each seperate Country or System.