It was a day much like any other. Jimmy Manyi, the abrasive
former Labour DG who’s now the Government’s spin doctor
(where he replaced the suave Themba Maseko, who was apparently
fired for having made a hash of the Nelson Mandela hospitalisation
thing, but has since been told that he can now be DG at Public
Works), announced that the Government has decided to drop the new
slogan that it planned to use as the centrepiece of Brand South
Africa’s new R140 million advertising campaign. This a mere
two months after the slogan was approved by the cabinet no less!
The luckless slogan: ‘More Than You
Imagine.’ Not to worry we were told, you (taxpayers)
only paid R470 000 for the creation of that literary gem (and they
say lawyers know how to charge). The slogan, which was to replace
the somewhat ageing ‘Alive With Possibilities’, was
dropped not because it was felt that it might become embarrassing
if South Africa does indeed move from being a ‘Scalpel and
Safari’ destination to the world’s foremost
‘Honeymoon With a Hit’ centre, but because it has
apparently already been used by others parties, including the
Portuguese tourism authorities.
Meanwhile SAFA announced that it is now seriously looking at
coming up with a new moniker for the national football team. Not
because Bafana Bafana is seen as being derogatory (as it once was),
but because SAFA still doesn’t have the rights to the name.
For those new to this field, SAFA waited many years before applying
to register the name Bafana Bafana, and then found to their horror
that they had been beaten to it by Stanton Woodrush, who had
registered the name for clothing.
A shocking lack of attention to detail all round! Is there
anyone (outside government agencies maybe) who still doesn’t
know that if you come up with a new brand name, nickname, logo or
slogan, you need to do searches to make sure you aren’t
infringing legal rights. And you also need to do basic usage
enquires (Google's always a good place to start) to make sure
that even if the mark isn’t registered, it isn’t being
used by someone else, in which case it may be diluted and
fail to distinguish your product. And that when you have decided on
a name, nickname, logo or slogan, you need to register it
immediately – it is, by and large, a first-come-first-served
system. Could it be that there are still some people who
don’t read this newsletter!
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It has always been the practice of the Industrial Property Institute of Mozambique to prohibit the refiling of trade marks that have been finally refused, which has posed a serious obstacle to trade mark applicants...
A recent Australian decision on keyword usage of a registered trade mark is in line with decisions in many other countries, including South Africa.
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