For every business, marketing your brand and services is a crucial component for potential clients, particularly in identifying your company. The first point of reference for clients to identify your company is by the name, slogan, logo and corporate colours.
All business owners can relate that coming up with a corporate identity is not a simple task, because it is about corporate individuality and distinctiveness that separates your company from the rest.
Recognising this, would you not want to protect your corporate identity and intellectual property?
The best way to do this is by registering a trademark. A trademark or ™ logo as we know it, is described by the Companies Intellectual Property Commission (“CIPC”) as a “brand name, a slogan or a logo. It identifies the service or goods and distinguishes it from goods and services of another”.
Although your brand is essentially a trademark without the requirement of having it registered, better protection can be afforded to you by registering it with CIPC. The downside of not doing so may result in your company’s competitors establishing a similar corporate identity and essentially piggybacking off your brand.
It is important to note that registering your company and a domain name is not necessarily sufficient protection from brand infringement when your competitors are using a similar name or corporate identity as your company’s. This is something you want to avoid because it can lead to confusion and result in potential clients utilizing your competitor’s services, which should rightfully come your way, particularly when you have put in the time, effort, and money to market your brand. By registering a trademark, your brand will receive full protection in these circumstances.
In order to proceed with the trademark application and subsequent registration, you will need to do the following:
- A comprehensive search to ensure that the name, logo, slogan or all three components, are not already trademarked (i.e. conflict check);
- Select the class you require the trademark to be registered as. In terms of South African law, there are 45 different classes in which you can classify your brand;
- Once the trademark application is filed, it will be processed by CIPC;
- Once the trademark application is received and successfully processed you will move on to the advertising stage where the trademark relating to your brand will be advertised to determine if there are any objections; and
- If no objections are lodged, the trademark will be granted and successfully registered.
The above is a summary of the process and what it entitles to apply and register a trademark. The upside of proceeding on this basis is that once it has been successfully registered, it will be protected forever, provided that the trademark is renewed every ten years.
If you see the value in protecting your brand and wish to trademark your corporate identity, please do not hesitate to contact BBP Law Attorneys. We will gladly assist by arranging a meeting to discuss the advantages and timelines associated with your trademark registration.