Why Trademark Registrations and Clearance Issues Can Lead to Disputes

 If you have been accused of trademark infringement, it is best to speak to an attorney specialising in trademark clearances and disputes about what to do next to solve the dispute. You may also want to make use of an attorney offering expertise in trademark clearances and disputes, should you wish to conduct a clearance search or want to register the mark to help distinguish your products or services from those offered by other companies within the same industry.

Trademarks are governed by South Africa’s Trade Marks Act. It is important to do trademark clearances for the simple reason that the marks can be renewed indefinitely subject to certain requirements. Unlike with patents, which can expire, the marks registered to distinguish goods and services can stay applicable. Many disputes can thus be avoided if the correct steps are followed before registering domain names, or using business names or logos. Conducting proper trademark searches is essential, and it is best to make use of an experienced attorney to handle the searches.

A shape, colour combination, gesture, sound, texture, tune, hologram, name, logo, and slogan can be trademarked. The reason why you should register the trademark is to ensure that it is reserved for your use. Competitors can try to imitate your product, simply because your brand is so well known and loved. This can cause confusion with the public regarding your products, and they might buy the products from the competitors thinking that they are buying your quality products. Instead, they get below-standard quality and your brand’s reputation is negatively affected.

How to Keep Your Trademark Valid

You cannot simply register the trademark and then forget about it. It must be renewed every ten years. Considering that your rights to the mark can stay in place for an indefinite period of time, if you just go through the trouble to renew it, the hassle of doing so every decade seems worth it. Fortunately, you can rely on us to help you through the process to ensure the protection of your brand name. However, there is still a way that your trademark can be scrapped from the register, which is if you do not use it for a consecutive period of five years. If someone notices it and wants the trademark, they can request it to be removed from the register.

Disputes may also arise because of the above. Make sure that you use the mark to keep it from being removed. Of course, if you are involved in a dispute about the matter, you will appreciate our litigation, legal guidance, and services in the above regard.

However, disputes can develop over issues of transfer. A mark can be assigned, thus bought or sold, just like any other asset. You can also licence the mark to another business entity or person, upon which they then pay you royalties for the use of it. If the party uses it in a manner other than stipulated in the license, you have the right to address it and demand compliance with the license agreement. We also handle disputes related to the assignment and correct usage, in addition to payment of royalties.

Speak to our attorneys about our services related to trademark registrations, clearances, and disputes.

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Contact our attorneys for legal advice, rather than relying on the content to make legal decisions – April 2018.

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