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What is a Trade Mark? 

Trade Mark is a brand name, a slogan or a logo. It identifies the services or goods of one person and makes them different from the goods and services of another.

  • This is a brand name - NIKE
  • This is a logo
  • This is a slogan - JUST DO IT

Understanding Trade Mark symbols A Trade Mark is denoted by the trade mark symbol TM or by the registration symbol ® if an actual registration filing has been approved. A brand name is a word or combination of words (e.g. Kentucky Fried Chicken). A slogan is a short phrase or a sentence and a logo is a distinctive picture or symbol. They provide a distinctive identity in the marketplace and can apply to both products and services. When a trade mark (brand name, slogan or logo) has been registered, nobody else can use this trade mark, or one that is confusingly similar. If this happens, legal action may result.

Must a Trade Mark be Registered? A trade mark can only be protected as such and defended under the Trade Marks Act , 1993 (Act 194 of 1993) if it is registered. Unregistered trade marks may be defended in terms of common law. The registration procedure results in a registration certificate which has legal status, allowing the owner of the registered trade mark the exclusive right to use that mark. CIPC administers the Register of Trade Marks which is the record of all the trade marks that have been formally applied for and registered in the Republic of South Africa.

What is the Lifespan of a Trade Mark? A registered trade mark can be protected forever, provided it is renewed every ten (10) years upon payment of the prescribed renewal fee.

Registered Users (Licensees) A registered user is the person(s) whom the owner of a registered trade mark legally permits to use his trade mark. Kindly refer to the provisions of Section 38(6) of the Trade Marks Act, read together with Regulation 39.