Guidelines when deciding upon a proposed trademark

When deciding on your trademark, please keep the following in mind:

  • Your trademark has to serve the purpose of distinguishing your goods or services from that of another trader. It must be unique and distinctive. New or made up words are generally stronger and easier to register e.g. Coca-Cola
  • Your trademark cannot include specially protected emblems e.g. the wool mark.
  • Longer trademarks are more distinctive, have less chance of conflicting with other marks and are easier to register; shorter trade marks are more difficult to register, but are usually more effective.
  • Keep your trademark simple. We recommend something in text form, with the possibility of writing it in a special form, again using Coca-Cola as an example. A device (picture) used in conjunction with a word mark, e.g. Nike and the tick mark, may strengthen your trade mark further. If you decide upon a special form of writing or a device as well as words, please keep in mind that separate searches will have to be conducted.
  • Your prospective trademark must not mislead or deceive customers.
  • Your prospective trademark must not violate public order or morality.
  • Try not to use geographical names e.g Cape Town, common surnames e.g Smith, directions e.g. north, descriptive wording e.g. best and words required in the trade e.g shirts in the clothing class.

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