What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable sign, design, or expression that identifies a product or service from a particular source and distinguishes it from others.
Trademark Registration In South Africa
How to register a trademark
If you don’t register your trademark, it will still be protected by the common law. Registering your trademark, however, gives it more protection under the Trade Marks Act 194 of 1993. If you want to register your trademark, you need to ask yourself:
There are different ways to register a trademark. You could ask a law firm to do it for you. Or you can do it yourself with online legal services like Trademark24.
We follow a three-step process:
- Search: this tells us if you can register the trademark or if there are any conflicts;
- Application: this is the paperwork that we hand in to register the trademark;
- Registration: This includes specific actions required by law, like notice of acceptance, advertisement, and preparing the registration certificate.
The search step is the shortest – about two weeks. It picks out marks that look, sound, and have a similar concept to your trademark. You can choose a simple search (which will search for only basic conflicts) or a full search (which will search for everything). This should let you know if it will be viable to register the trademark. If there are conflicts between your trademark and someone else’s, you probably shouldn’t register it. After all, the purpose of a trademark is to distinguish your goods and services from someone else’s.
The application step can take a very long time – up to 13 months. The Registrar has to file and examine the trademark before they can register it. They will check that it isn’t offensive or if it shouldn’t be registered for some other reason.
During the registration step, the Registrar accepts the mark and advertises it for 3 months. If no one objects to the mark, the Registrar issues the registration certificate.
The trademarks office has a heavy backlog of work, and the whole process can take up to three years. So you should make sure that you want to register your trademark. The costs and time might be high, but if you are sure of your business, it will be worth it to protect your brand.
How long does a trademark last in South Africa?
The usual timeframe from filing to registration is 24 to 36 months. Trademark registration in South Africa is valid for 10 years from the date of application and renewable every 10 years.
A registered trademark can be protected forever, provided it is renewed every 10 years upon payment of the prescribed renewal fee.
How long does it take to get a trademark in South Africa?
It can take anything from six months to a year to register a trademark in South Africa.
How much does it cost to register a trademark in South Africa?
Our charge for the first trademark is R4,090 plus vat (inclusive of trademark publication and registration costs). Subsequent trademarks cost R2,950 plus vat.
To file a trademark takes between 1 and 2 days.