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A trademark registration is one of the most important aspects of intellectual property protection, and is a must for any newly formed business.
At Legal Legends, our trademark masterminds will assist with trademark searches, filing, advice and renewals, in order to give you peace of mind that your brand name, product name, slogan, or logo is properly protected.
Whether it be for a free trademark basic search, trademark filing, requesting a call back, or a trademark renewal, we strive for a 1 working hour response time. We’re pretty proud of our efficiency here at Legal Legends, so just give it a try…
If you’re a startup, like us, we make things far more affordable for you, by having a number of interest free payment options available for trademark filings.
What is a Trademark?:
A trademark is simply a sign that serves to distinguish your business’ goods or services from those of other business’ goods or services, and prevents others from using names, words, slogans, logo’s etc which are the same as, or confusingly similar to, yours.
By registering your trademark, you obtain the exclusive rights to use your name, slogan or logo in your industry.
Common trademarks include the following:
- Word Marks:
- Company names;
- Product names;
- Slogans; and/or
Benefits of Registering a Trademark:
First and foremost, a registered trademark is an asset of the company that owns such trademark, with the following benefits, amongst others:
- The trademark may be pledged, for example, to a bank, in order for a loan to be granted to the trademark owner; and
- In the case of a franchise, a trademark, amongst others, may be licensed out to the franchisee by the franchisor. For instance, franchises such as Steers will license their trademarks, which consists, at the very least, of their brand name, slogan, and logo to the franchisee, in order that the franchisee may use such trademarks when operating their Steers franchise business.
A registered trademark gains the protection afforded by the Trade Marks Act, which, among others, provides what is known as face value evidence of the validity of the trademark registration. This essentially means that the burden to prove that you are not entitled to the trademark, shall fall on any party accusing you of not being entitled to the use of such trademark.
This differs from unregistered trademarks, in that the burden to prove your valid use of the trademark, falls on you to procure such evidence.
The Trade Marks Act also provides for certain forms of relief, such as damages, interdicts and royalties, should another party infringe on your registered trademark.
Another such benefit which is not too often spoken about is, what we term, ‘keyword poaching’ on Google Adwords.
It has become a growing trend since the advent of the Google Adwords program, that companies seek to use the trademarked name of one or more of their competitors as a keyword in their Google adverts which appear at the top of Google search results.
For the sake of example, Seeff may look at using the keyword ‘Pam Golding’ in order for Seeff’s Google advert to appear at the top of search results when persons search ‘Pam Golding’ on Google. This may result in thousands of rands being lost by Pam Golding to Seeff due to Google users now utilising the services of Seeff, when, in fact, they initially searched to the term ‘Pam Golding’.
In the above example, Google’s internal dispute procedures will not entertain the removal of the offending keyword/s from Seeff’s Google Adwords account unless, and only if, Pam Golding can produce a valid trademark registration certificate.
As the owner of a registered trademark, you may submit such a trademark to the Trademark Clearinghouse, with the benefit that, should any person, other than yourself as the trademark owner, attempt to register a gTLD internet domain name (Just a fancy term for certain types of internet URL’s) which matches your trademark, you as the trademark owner will be notified of the attempted domain registration, in order that you may oppose such registration, and have the domain name transferred to you.
Trademarks are an essential component of protecting the rights of startup, and having a better understanding of their importance, will place startup founders in a far more informed position as to best to get your business off the ground in a legally sound and protective manner.
Queries, or just feel like a chat?:
If you have any queries, feel free to use our live chat functionality on the bottom right of the screen, call us on 011 056 9965 or drop us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.