Marked improvements on the IP landscape
Herman Blignaut gives an overview of how trade marks are registered and enforced in South Africa.
The registration of a trade mark in South Africa must be sought through the filing of a national application with the Trade Marks Office in Pretoria. South Africa is not a member of either of the two African regional filing systems, and is still in the preparation phase to join the Madrid system in terms of which international registrations can be sought in South Africa.
Prior to commencing the registration process, it is generally good practice to conduct an availability and registrability search in order to determine whether there are any existing marks that may come into conflict with a proposed new trade mark. Separate trade marks must be filed in each class of interest. Examination of applications is conducted on both absolute and relative terms and while timeframes generally vary, the entire registration process at present takes about 24 to 36 months, where matters proceed smoothly.
This article was first published in the Intellectual Property Magazine April 2018.