Register a Trademark in South Africa

Bredenkamp IP Blog, Trademark Registrations

How to register a trademark in South Africa

How to Register a Trademark in South Africa

Trademarks grab the attention of prospective clients and offer brands legal protection when it comes to safeguarding intellectual property (IP) in the form of logos, slogans, expressions, and designs. We see and experience trademarks every day. From popular slogans like Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ and famous symbols like the Apple logo to beloved characters like Barbie and the bright yellow McDonald’s M, trademarks are all around us. Any brand worth its salt knows the value of trademarking its IP so that it is legally protected from the competition.

Companies who register trademarks for their intellectual property enjoy wider legal protection and brand recognition as they are “associated and remembered in the public’s mind.” Registering a trademark in South Africa – and internationally – is important for businesses and entrepreneurs who want to distinguish their goods and services from other brands. If you want to register a trademark in South Africa, it is advisable to work with a qualified intellectual property attorney who understands the legal intricacies of the process.

In law, trademarks are infringed when confusion arises between the trademarked property and another brand whose IP is similar. Trademarks ensure that brands are easy to identify and not confused with other companies. In doing so, they also protect consumers by assuring that they’re working with the correct brand and not a different one with a similar logo or name. Trademarks thus make brands distinguishable, protecting both companies and consumers.

Registering Trademarks in South Africa and Beyond

Under South African law, trademarks must be registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). Many multinational corporations may also need trademarks in other countries. This is a more complex and nuanced process and one that is best done with a legal professional with extensive international IP experience.

As a general rule, the steps taken by intellectual property lawyers to register a trademark in South Africa include the following:

Step 1 – Preliminary search: The attorney will thoroughly research the IP you wish to trademark to ensure that it is not used by another brand.

Step 2 – Formalised research: Attorneys will then conduct a more formalised process whereby they research the IP through the Register of Trade Marks – the official database of all formally applied-for trademarks in South Africa.

Step 3 – Application: The attorney will file an application with the CIPC and classify which class of trade your goods or services fall under. Each class is regarded as a separate application and as such, you must choose the correct class or classes for your goods to ensure total protection. Applications can take up to a year and a half all in all. Once approved, it must be advertised for three months in the Government Gazette of South Africa. If no one contests the trademark, a certificate will be issued.

Consult with Our Trademarking Experts

Registering a trademark in South Africa and ensuring that your IP has protection in multiple countries can be an arduous and complicated process. Trademark attorneys understand the intricacies of intellectual property law and the various application and registration procedures needed. They can help you traverse these legal complexities with ease. For more information on how we can assist you in your quest to register a trademark in South Africa or internationally, get in touch with our team at Bredenkamp IP Attorneys and we will happily be of service. Alternatively, visit our Trademarks page for an extensive overview and tips to choose a strong and credible trademark.

How to register a trademark in South Africa

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