Published Date: October 21, 2022

A trade mark is a category of intellectual property that distinguishes a product, service, or brand from a competitor. It consists of a sign and conventionally includes a word, name, slogan, signature or combination of letters and/or numerals. Unconventionally it can also include sounds, smells, colours, and shapes.

A trade mark must be registered in order for it to be defended and protected under the Trade Marks Act, 1993 (Act 194 of 1993). If a trade mark is registered and trade mark infringement occurs, legal action may be taken.

Before one can register a trade mark, a trade mark search must be conducted

Why Should I Conduct a Trade Mark Search

A trade mark search is conducted in order to determine whether or not a trade mark is available for adoption and registration. . Performing such a search will reveal whether there is a pre-existing trade mark that is similar or identical to the one you wish to register.

South Africa Trademark Search: The CIPC

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) is an agency within the South African Department of Trade and Industry. The CIPC facilitates the registration of companies, co-operatives and intellectual property rights that include trade marks, patents, designs, and copyright. It is also possible to request a special search in the Trade Marks Register from the CIPC or make use of the cursory e-search function which will provide you with basic search information. It is however advisable to perform a full  search by a trade mark attorney before attempting to register a trade mark.

How to Do a Trade Mark Search?

Trade mark searches are conducted in specific classes depending on the nature of the goods / services of interest. A trade mark attorney will identify such classes and conduct the search, for the mark,  on the Trade Marks Register in those classes, as well as overlapping classes. When analysing the search results the trade mark attorney will consider and/or identify identical trade marks or any trade marks that may be considered confusingly similar to the proposed trade mark from a visual, phonetical or conceptual point of view.. Though the process of performing a trade mark search might sound simple, it is important to comprehensively understand the ins and outs in order to ensure success and efficiency. A Trade Mark Attorney will have the legal backing and experience to assist you in this process.

Adams and Adams is a leading African law firm that is internationally recognised. We specialise in Intellectual Property law and are able to provide assistance across a broad spectrum of industries. We work with clients helping them to protect, enforce, and commercialise their intellectual property including trade marks, patents, designs, and copyright.

Contact us to find out more about the comprehensive Intellectual Property services provided by Adams and Adams.