The Value of Trademarks for Companies Operating in Johannesburg
Trademarks are intellectual property assets and can be seen as some of the most important assets of companies operating in Johannesburg.
Johannesburg is the business hub of South Africa. It is also a highly competitive business environment where the protection of intellectual property rights is essential to prevent competitors from using your company’s intellectual property without authorisation. Trademarks thus distinguish your company’s products and services from that of competitors in Johannesburg.
The value of the trademark increases over time as your company’s brand becomes known and appreciated. It is thus a valuable asset. You can register several trademarks to ensure the protection of all relevant goods and services, and thereby add to your IP asset register.
A trademark can be a word or words, logo, device, or mark that clearly distinguishes a company’s products or services from other providers of products and services in the same class. South Africa has a mono-filing system for the registration of trademarks and we distinguish between trademarks for goods and services.
If you want to register the IP right for a product or service, you first need to conduct a pre-file or clearance search of the South African Trade Marks Register. This is best done by IP law specialists or attorneys. You will be glad to know that we can do such searches on your behalf, whether you are located in Johannesburg or elsewhere in the country. The reason for the searches is to ensure that the particular mark is not already in use or registered. It is also to ensure that your mark is not similar to another mark for similar products or services.
These trademark searches help to mitigate risk. If another company already uses the mark for a while now, it will be best not to register a similar mark, as it can lead to intellectual property right disputes further down the line.
Once the searches have been conducted, the application for registration in the particular class of trademark commences. The application is then reviewed by the Registrar. This normally takes 12-18 months and the aim is to ensure that there are no other parties using a similar mark and determine if your mark complies with all the requirements regarding trademarks. Once accepted and no objections have been lodged, a notice is published.
A period of three months lapses after the publication, giving other parties the opportunity to object to the registration of the mark. If no objections are received, the registration of the mark takes place. You will receive the certificate about six months after registration.
While you wait for the registration, you can use the trademark pending symbol of ™ to show that the application is in progress. Once registered, your products or services for which it has been registered can carry the registered symbol of ®. The mark is valid indefinitely if you use it and renew it once every ten years. Our attorneys also assist with the registration and renewals of trademarks.
Call us to help you register trademarks for your logos, marks, or words to distinguish your products and services from that of competitors in Johannesburg and elsewhere in South Africa.
Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call on our attorneys for legal advice, rather than relying on the information herein to make any decisions. The information is relevant to the date of publishing – June 2018.