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1. About Trademarks

It is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof which identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services of one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Normally, a mark for goods appears on the product or its packaging, while a service mark appears in advertising for the services.

2. What is the difference between TM, R® and SM?

Anyone who claims rights in a mark may use the; TM (trademark) or SM (service mark) designation with the mark to alert the public to the claim. To use these designations, it is unnecessary to have a registration or even a pending application. The registration symbol (R)® may only be used when the mark is registered in the Trade Marks Office. It is improper to use this symbol at any point before registration.

3. How do I establish trademark rights?

Trademark rights arise from either;
✓ actual use of the mark, (common law rights) and/or
✓ the filing of the application to register a mark in the Trade Marks Office.

4. Who may file an Application?

The application shall be filed in the Name of the owner of the mark; usually an individual, entity, or partnership. The owner of a mark controls the nature and quality of the goods or services identified by the mark.

5. Do I need to search for conflicting marks?

It is not compulsory that an Applicant conducts a search prior to filing an application, but it is advisable to do so. A search is useful in determining if there are conflicting marks. To find a conflict, the mark needs to be identical, and the goods and services do not have to be the same. The principal factors to be considered in reaching this decision are the similarity of the mark and the commercial relationship between the goods and services identified by the mark.

6. The Process.

The application is assigned a serial number and filing date if it meets certain minimum requirements.
Due to the current situation at the Trade Marks Offices of South Africa, an applicant can only expect an examination of the application approximately one to two years after filing. Trademark protection is territorial in nature, i.e., it is limited to the country in which the trademark is used or registered.
Upon examination, the Registrar determines whether the trade mark meets certain requirements and determines whether it should be registered.
If the Registrar raises any grounds for refusal, we may argue against the objections raised by the Registrar.
If there are no objections, or the objections have been overcome, the mark is then approved for publication in the Patent Journal. If there are no third-party objections against the Trade Mark, the Registration Certificate shall be issued shortly after the end of the opposition period.

7. Are there any other types of Applications?

In addition to trade and service marks the Trade Mark Act provides for the registration of other types of marks, such as Certificate Mark and Collective Trade Marks.
These types of Marks are relatively rare. If you require more information, please contact Licentia Franchise SA Head Offices.

8. How do I maintain my Registration?

Trade Marks rights last indefinitely if the owner continues to use the mark to identify its goods and services. The term of Trade Mark Registration is 10 (Ten) years, with 10 (Ten) years renewal term.