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.