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Intellectual Property - Trademarks


In a recent article we discussed Intellectual Property and the registration of Copyright, in this article we look at Trademark registration.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a mark (like a brand name, logo or slogan) which differentiates your goods or services from goods or services of others. A brand name is a word or combination or words, a slogon is a short phrase or sentence and a logo is a distinctive picture. Unlike copyright, trademarks can be registered in terms of the South African Trademarks Act and can will last for at least ten years before you need to renew it.

A trademark is important because it is directly linked to the reputation of your company, and provides a distinctive identity in the marketplace. When your trademark has been registered, nobody else can use your trademark or one that might confuse your products or services with those of your competitors.

When you have completed the registration process you will receive a registration certificate, which will allow you exclusive right to use that mark.

A trademark can be registered if it does not represent protected emblems, such as the national flag or a depiction of a national monument. A mark also cannot be offensive or contrary to the law or be deceptive by nature.

The Trademark registration process is an extensive process and can take up to 2 years, but during this process your trademark carries certain protection and if someone else interferes with the mark this will give you a legal defence. So it is important to start this process as soon as possible.

Before applying for a trademark registration you can perform a special preliminary search in the Trade Marks Register to determine if there are any existing prior rights which are indentical or confusingly similar to your intended trademarks which could prevent your trademark registration from being successful.

For any queries regarding trademarks or Intellectual Property right or other commercial needs please contact Myers Attorneys on 011 346 2422 or caryn@myersattorneys.co.za


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