Trade Mark Law

According to the South African trademark law (South African Trademarks Act No. 194 of 1993) you can register your unique mark to protect your business interest from being exploited and potentially harmed through misuse by unauthorised entities. Once you have registered your trademark, the South African trademark law requires you to renew this every ten years to stay in force. However, provided you continue renewing your trademark registration in South Africa, your rights to the trademark may last indefinitely.

Trademark Requirements

Examples of Trademarks: Name, Slogan, Logo, Shapes, Three-dimensional Marks, Colors, Holograms, Motions / Multimedia, Positions, Gestures, Olfactory (smells / scents), Sounds / Tunes, Tastes, Textures.

A trade mark 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. It has not become customary in your field of trade. It does not represent protected emblems, such as the national flag or a depiction of a national monument such as Table Mountain. It is not offensive or contrary to the law or good morals or deceptive by nature or way of use. There are no earlier conflicting rights.

Marks that may NOT be Registered:

Emblems fall under the protection of the Merchandise Marks Act. The following are regarded as state emblems:
Seal of the Republic, Coat of Arms of the Republic, National Monuments, The representations of the present and all former State Presidents of the Republic. National Flags – use may not be made of it in a trade mark. Use can be made of these state emblems only with the permission of the Minister of Trade and Industry, together with the consent of the owner of the state emblem and that of the National Monuments Council.

Words that are NOT capable of distinguishing for purposes of the Trade Marks Act:
Example – 24 HOURS.
Example – The word CHEESE cannot serve as a trade mark for cheese.
Example – The word SERVER cannot serve as a trade mark for computer related services.

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First to Use What is First-to-Use? This means that the first person / entity that actually made use of the mark in connection with the goods and/or services for which they’re applying, will obtain registration and may prevent others from using it. This is...

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