Trade Mark Protection in AFRICA

Trade Marks

With a passion for development in Africa, our trade mark department has built a trusted network of African agents over the past decade which allows us to extend trade mark service offerings across the African continent.

Our trade mark department is made up of a team of skilled and qualified attorneys and paralegals who work closely with our clients to build interpersonal relationships and to structure the best bespoke trade mark filing programs suited to the client’s specific needs and requirements. Smit & Van Wyk’s trade mark services include:

  • Trade mark identification, identification of jurisdictions & identification of classes
  • Trade mark searches
  • Trade mark specification drafting and review
  • Trade mark prosecution from filing through to registration
  • Regular reporting and updating clients (to keep them informed on the progress of the trade mark application)
  • Dealing with third part objections
  • Recording changes in name and address of owners, assignments and licenses
  • Trade mark renewals
  • Trade mark audits
  • Trade mark litigation

Information required to file a trade mark

  • The full name, physical address and nationality of the trade mark applicant.
  • The goods and/or services for which protection is sought i.e. in relation to what goods or services is the mark going to be used or is being used.
  • If the trade mark is a logo mark, we require a high definition electronic image of the logo.
  • A scanned copy of a signed Power of Attorney signed by the applicant authorizing our firm to act on its behalf in respect of trade mark matters.

Trade marks are territorial in nature meaning trade marks have to be filed in each country of interest.



Smit & Van Wyk’s trade mark department also assists with copyright in Africa. Although copyright automatically exists in South Africa upon the creation of an eligible work, several of the African countries do have copyright laws and therefore we can assist with the enforcement thereof in these countries.

The types of work eligible for copyright include:

  • Literary works (novels, poems, scripts, textbooks, letters, lectures etc.);
  • Musical works (songs);
  • Artistic works (paintings, sculptures, architectural works, craftsmanship);
  • Sound recordings (CD’s, tapes, MP3’s);
  • Cinematograph films (movies, television programmes etc.);
  • Broadcasts (television or radio broadcasts);
  • Programme-carrying signals;
  • Published editions (specific typographical arrangement of a literary or musical work);
  • Computer programmes (computer software).


Our trade mark team also specialises in franchising. Our franchise department advises both franchisors and franchisees regarding legal aspects pertaining to franchising. The franchise relationship between a franchisor and franchisee will primarily be controlled and governed by the franchise agreement. We assist franchisors to develop, draft and complete all required legal documentation to properly market and sell franchise business, all of which to be in line with the required franchise legislation and regulations. It is of utmost importance for a franchisor to ensure that all of its IP rights regarding the franchise business system, is adequately identified and protected.

We provide advice and assistance to franchisees entering into new franchise agreements in order to enable a prospective franchisee to identify the risks and obligations regarding the franchise opportunity.