We conducted this search at the South African Trade Marks Office making use of the Registrar of Trade Marks' data base which includes all trade marks applications and registrations in force in South Africa.
The search does not include reference to other registers such as that of the Registrar of Companies and Close Corporations ("the Companies Register"), nor does it make reference to trade marks which may be in use commercially but which have not been registered, or applied for, as trade marks in terms of the Trade Marks Act No. 194 of 1993 ("the Trade Marks Act").
In view of the above, clients are cautioned not to accept the results of our search conducted as conclusive proof of the availability of a trade mark for use and registration. It is therefore recommended that clients also consult alternative sources such as the Companies Register, major telephone directories, telephone enquiry services offered by Telkom and other communication service providers as well as the internet, to further assist in determining the availability of a trade mark for use and registration. We are well placed to also assist clients in this process.
Further to the above, clients' attention is drawn to following:
- The Registrar of Trade Marks does not guarantee the accuracy of its records and does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions that may be present in its records nor the consequences resulting from such errors. This search report is therefore subject to the accuracy of the records searched;
- The Registrar of Trade marks receives numerous trade mark applications daily, which are captured electronically on the Trade Marks Office's data base. Unfortunately, delays are often experienced in this process, which result in trade mark applications, which having been filed 7 – 14 days prior to conducting a search, not being revealed as part of the search results. It is therefore recommended, in instances where trade marks have not been used, to conduct a further search once an application has been filed, To determine if an identical application has been filed; and
- Searches are only conducted in classes which cover goods and/or services which may be in conflict with the proposed business activities of clients. Our search report therefore does not include reference to non-related goods and/or services and identical and/or similar trade marks that may have been applied for, or registered, in relation to these goods and/or services.
Finally, and in view of various amendments to the Trade Marks Act which provide extensive protection to the proprietors of well known trade marks, such as NIKE, ADIDAS, VW, etc., which in turn prohibit the exploitation and use of these trade marks, even in relation to non-related goods/services, clients should exercise caution in adopting trade marks which are similar or identical to existing trade marks.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.