Trademark Office in South Africa

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The trademark office in South Africa is officially known as the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) which is responsible for the registration of trademarks, granting of patents and designs, and compliance with relevant legislations.Before you apply for a trademark at the trademark office in South Africa, a clearance search for prior trademarks is recommended in order to ascertain whether similar or identical trademarks already exists on the Register.

South Africa Trademark Facts

First to Use
First-to-use is generally superior to first-to-file. However, it is easier for owners to enforce registered trademarks than their common law equivalent, as trademark registration is prima facie proof of national ownership and validity.

Paris Convention
South Africa is a member of the Paris Convention. Each contracting state must grant the same protection to other contracting states, and provides for the right of priority in the case of patents, trademarks and designs. 

Nice Classification
South Africa recognises the Nice Classification. An international classification for goods and services

Madrid Protocol
South Africa is not a member of the Madrid System.

Types of Marks
Goods and services
Certification marks
Collective marks

Trademarks Registration in South Africa

Once the clearance search has been finalised, we may proceed to file a trademark application at the trademark office in South Africa. We will be required to provide a signed Power of Attorney authorising our firm to act on clients’ behalf, the full name, physical address and nationality of the applicant, the representation of the trademark, the list of goods and/or services, and a certified English copy of the priority document (if applicable).
Read more: How to register a Trademark in South Africa

After filing a trademark application at the trademark office in South Africa, it is examined for distinctiveness and possible conflicts of any existing trademarks on the register. It can take up to 12 months from the date of filing a trademark application until the first examination is conducted. Thereafter, an official action is issued, indicating whether and subject to what conditions, it would be prepared to accept the trademark for publication.

Once the conditions for acceptance have been complied with, the registrar issues a notice of acceptance of publication. Thereafter, the trademark is advertised for the compulsory three-month opposition period in the South African Patent and Trade Mark Journal. If no opposition to the registration of a trademark is received, it proceeds to registration. The registration process may take up to 18 to 24 months.

A registered trademark in South Africa is valid for 10 years and may be renewed in perpetuity for further periods of 10 years.