Trade marks

The Trade Marks Act, 1993 (as amended) governs the South African trade mark registration system. The trade marks office accepts applications for trade marks in relation to goods and services as well as certification and collective trade marks.  A trade mark is viewed as any sign capable of being represented graphically and may include word marks, device, patterns, signatures, sounds etc.

South Africa does not allow for multi-class applications and a separate application must be filed for each class of interest.  The 10th Edition of the Nice Classification system is followed.

Requirements for filing

In order to file a trade mark application, the following is required:

  • The full names and addresses of the applicants
  • Priority application number, country and priority date, if priority is claimed
  • The representation of the mark
  • Class in which the application is to be filed
  • The specification of goods and services

Additional requirements and deadlines:

  • Power of attorney (may be late filed at no additional cost)
  • Certified copies of any priority documents
  • Translations of priority documents which are not in English

After filing, the marks will be examined for formal requirements and prior conflicting entries.  If accepted, the Registrar will issue a notice of acceptance and publish the trade mark application in the Government Gazette.  The application will be open to opposition for a period of 3 months, which period is extendable.  If no opposition is entered, the Registrar will issue the registration certificate.

Trade mark registrations are valid for 10 years and may be renewed for like periods.