Trade Mark Protection in Africa

Smit & Van Wyk, Inc. Intellectual Property Attorneys specialize in the registration and protection of trade marks in most African Countries, OAPI and ARIPO.

Examples of Trade Marks include: Name, Slogan, Logo, Shapes, 3D Marks, Colors, Holograms, Motions, Multimedia, Positions, Gestures, Olfactory (smells / scents), Sounds / Tunes, Tastes, Textures, Trade Mark Search

It is always advisable that the trade mark be searched before the application is made. In order to be considered registerable, your trade mark must be capable of distinguishing your goods or services from those of your competitors. This will provide an indication of whether there are existing trademarks which are identical or similar to yours. Foreign trade mark searches may also be conducted – please contact us, should you wish to have a search conducted through the trade mark offices of foreign countries.

Why should I Register a Trade Mark?
You are in the process of building the reputation of your product/service. However, competitors may try to imitate your product if it is a commercial success. To ensure that the buying public does not confuse your goods or services with those of your competitors, registering a trade mark is a cost-effective way of protecting your name and reputation.

Company Registrations vs Trade Mark Registrations

A Company registration is independent of a Trade Mark registration. Your company may have built up a substantial reputation which may be eroded by competitors who may not even have a registered company. By registering and enforcing a registered trademark, such competitors may be prohibited from using your registered trade mark. In addition, you may be marketing several product lines, each with its own name or brand which are different from your company name. Registering trademarks for each of these names or brands will allow you to protect such names or brands, independently of your company name.

Transferring a Trade Mark

Trade marks can be transferred through assignment – in other words, trade marks may be bought or sold like other commodities. Alternatively, you may wish to license your trademarks to another manufacturer, who will then pay royalties for the use of your trademarks. A trademark, like a patent, may even be hypothecated to serve as security.

Trade Mark Duration

As long as a registered trademark is renewed and used in trade, it can last forever. A registered trademark is renewable every 10 years.

As long as a trademark is renewed and used in trade, it can last forever. A registered trademark is renewable every 10 years.

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