Trademark applications give a trade mark powerful protection against infringement. By default, trademarks are protected by the common law, but it’s often difficult and expensive to protect your brand this way. Trademarks can be registered under the Trade Marks Act, No. 194 of 1993. Registration protects your trademark even more.
Why bother with trademark applications?
Trademarks protect your brand, and exist to distinguish one person’s goods or services from another’s and avoid confusion. Of course, there are many types of goods or services in the world, and the law understands that two people can use similar trademarks on very different goods or services without causing confusion. Because of this, trademarks are registered for specific categories (or “classes”) of goods or services.
Trademark applications help to:
- make it easier, quicker and cheaper to prevent someone from infringing your registered trademark;
- claim damages from someone who is infringing your trademark;
- protect your trademark (through registration) quicker than the common law (through many years of built-up reputation and goodwill);
- appoint and control of licensees and franchisees;
- assign your trademark to third parties;
- use your trademark as security for loans;
- register your trademark in other countries.
Registered trademarks last for 10 years from the filing date. They can be renewed for another 10 years, over and over again.
What are the different classes?
There are 45 different classes of trademark that you can register. These are split into 34 classes for goods (e.g. Class 15, Musical Instruments), and 11 classes for services (e.g. Class 38, Telecommunications). Generally, a trademark registered in one class can still be registered in another class. This prevents a single party from having a complete monopoly on a particular trademark. If two similar trademarks appear in the same class, however, this is a conflict. Only one can stay.
How can we help you?
We can help by: