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South Africa (ZA)

Feb 13, 2018 (Newsletter Issue 3/18)
Domain Name Registration Introduced / eServices Changed
The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) has introduced domain name registration services with effect from December 15, 2017. Companies can now register their domain names via CIPC at a cost of ZAR 51.30.

Further, changes to the eServices has been made. The Standard Short Form Memorandum of Incorporation for companies registered under the new Companies Act is now available to every registered CIPC customer for a fee of ZAR 30.00 per request. Also, the services such as the name search, free disclosure and person search are now accessible.


Jan 21, 2014 (Newsletter Issue 1/14)
IP Laws Amendment Act Published
The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act, 28 of 2013 (IPLAA) was published in the Government Gazette on 10 December 2013. It is expected that IPLAA will come into effect in the first half of 2014.

IPLAA amends the South African Performers’ Protection Act, Copyright Act, Trade Marks Act and Designs Act. The aim is, inter alia, to provide for the recognition and protection of certain manifestations of indigenous knowledge as a species of intellectual property.

To access the Gazette please click here

Source: Spoor & Fisher, South Africa

May 24, 2011 (Newsletter Issue 7/11)
New Procedure for Objection to Company Names
South Africa has enacted a new Companies Act (Act No. 71 of 2008) which entered into force on 1 May 2011. The same date saw the birth of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), which replaced the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO). The Act has changed the procedure for objections to reserved or registered company names.

The objection to company names is now similar to application procedures before the High Court. Under the previous Act, the objector or his attorney had to address a letter to the registrar, setting out the grounds of objection and the reasons why the registered name was 'undesirable' or 'calculated to cause damage' to the objector. Now the objector has to file a formal application with the Companies Tribunal on a prescribed form, supported by an affidavit which sets out the basis of the dispute. The application must be served on the respondent within 5 days and an answer filed within 20 days, failing which the applicant can apply for default judgement. If an answer is filed, the applicant may file a reply within 15 days after the date of the answer following which the matter is set down for hearing before the Companies Tribunal.

However, the grounds on which an application can be brought remain similar to those of the previous regime, including rights to a trade mark, company, business or protected name registered in terms of applicable legislation. New features introduced by the Act: 1) Company names may now be objected to on the basis of a trade mark application. 2) An objection to a registered company name may be lodged at any time while previously it could no longer be brought after a certain period. 3) The Tribunal may grant an order as to costs.

Source: Spamer Triebel Inc., South Africa

Legal basis are the Trade Marks Act No. 194 of 1993, in force since May 1st, 1995, and the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act No. 38 of 1997, in force since January 1st, 1998.
South Africa is not a member of the Madrid Agreement or the Madrid Protocol.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration. Mere use of the trade mark is sufficient to afford the owner common law rights.
The principles of ʻcommon lawʼ apply, i. e. official and judicial decisions are rendered on the basis of prior decisions and judgements on similar cases.
Nice classification, 12th edition
Registrable as trademarks are all distinctive signs, capable of being represented graphically, such as words, names, acronyms, letters, numerals, devices, emblems, holograms, colours or colour combinations, three-dimensional forms, three-dimensional forms of goods or their packaging, sound marks and smell marks and any combination of the mentioned signs.
The following trademark types are registrable: trademarks, service marks, collective marks and certification marks.
The application is filed at the “Companies and Intellectual Property Commission” (CIPC).
A separate application has to be filed for each class.
Foreign applicants need a local agent.
A non-legalised power of attorney is sufficient.
Foreign applicants do not need a domestic registration.
The application process includes a formal examination, an examination of distinctiveness and a search for prior trademarks.
The processing time from first filing to registration is approx. 2 years, provided the process is smooth.
The first office action is taken after approx. 9 months.
Prior to registration, the trademark application is published in the monthly Patent Journal.
The opposition period is 3 months from publication of acceptance of the trademark application, extendable for further periods of 3 months each.
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from the date of application.
The registration is renewable for periods of 10 years indefinitely.
Practical details on grace periods for trademark renewals are available in our publication here
Practical details on trademark use requirements are available in our publication here
The official fee for filing a trademark is ZAR 590.00 per class. There is an official fee of ZAR 14.00 per trade mark for all registration attendances (i.e., publication).

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Practical details on trademark licensing are available in our publication here
Online you can see a limited part of information about this country.
More in-depth details are available for the following aspects:

     General Trademark Regulations
     Trademark Use Requirements
     Grace Period for Trademark Renewal
     Trademark Licensing

If you like to purchase all available information for this country, click the order button.
The total price is 49.00 EUR. A PDF-Download will be sent to you electronically.

SMD Group thanks the following law firms for their assictance in updating the information provided.

Aug 29, 2023
KISCH IP, Sandton, South Africa

Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)
The Dti Campus
(Block F – Entfutfukweni)
77 Meintjies Street, Sunnyside
South Africa

Private Bag X400
Pretoria 0001
Tel +27 12 394 9973
Fax +27 12 394 1015