FAQ Trademarks


When should I apply for a trademark?

If you are manufacturing goods or offering a service. Potential customers see or hear about a trademark and they remember the goods or services associated with it. Your trademark distinguishes you from other people in the same line of work, and gives you an identity in the market place. 

How do I create a trademark?

Think of a brand name, slogan or logo for your goods or services. Be creative! Think of something distinctive that people will remember. Do not simply describe your goods or services; this will not serve to distinguish your business from other businesses with the same goods and services.

What protection does a registered trademark provide?

Nobody else may use your trademark, or one that is confusingly similar. If this happens, you may take legal action.

What is the lifespan of a trademark?

A registered trade mark can be protected forever, provided you renew every ten (10) years upon payment of the prescribed renewal fee.

What qualifies as a trademark?

A trademark is a brand name, a slogan or a logo. It identifies the services or goods of one person and distinguishes it from the goods and services of another. A brand name is a word or combination of words (e.g. Kentucky Fried Chicken). A slogan is a short phrase or a sentence and a logo is a distinctive picture or symbol. They provide a distinctive identity in the marketplace and can apply to both products and services.Examples below:

Can a company or close corporation lodge an objection to a proposed trademark if its name is identical or very similar to the trademark?

Yes. The trademark database is not linked to the company database and a separate search will be done, upon request and at additional cost.

How long does a search take?

We will do your search within 24 hours after verification of payment, unless circumstances prevent us from doing so.

Must the trademark be registered before it can be used?

No, you can start using your trademark after you have received the filing receipt and number from the trademark office.

Does a favourable search report guarantee that my trademark will proceed to registration?

Not necessarily. Your application will be subjected to examination at the Registrar’s office and the criteria they apply to judge the validity of your application. Please read the information we attach to your search results carefully.

How long does it take before registration takes place?

The registrar will examine your trademark plus minus 12 months after filing.


Do you discontinue the search when you find the exact trademark already filed?

No, we still do the full search to give you all the variations and combinations.

Do you give a refund if my proposed trademark is not available?

Unfortunately not. We spend extensive time and resources to give you the best possible service. However, subsequent follow-up searches are offered at special rates.

Do I need to use the trademark to register it?

No, the Trade Marks Act requires only a bona fide intention to use the mark. If you do not use the trade mark for a period of 5 years, it may become vulnerable to expungement (removal) upon application by a third party.

Will my trademark have protection outside South Africa?

No, your registration will only offer protection in the territory you have registered it in.


Does a South African registration give protection overseas?


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