A a brand can be a name, a slogan or a logo. It identifies your goods or services and distinguishes them from the goods or services of others. It is the commercial magnet to which the goodwill of your business attaches and may go on to be worth many millions of Rands.

Registration of your brand as a trademark secures legal ownership and prevents others from using your brand. Registration also presents other from registering the brand as their own, and forcing you to stop using it.

Trademarks are registered for an initial period of 10 years, and can be renewed every 10 years thereafter.

Examples of trademarks include:

  • Brand Name: Coca Cola, Aquafresh
  • A Slogan: “Everything keeps going right Toyota”
  • A Logo: The Nike tick, or the MacDonalds “Golden Arches”
  • Specific shape: Coca Cola bottle or Weber kettle braai

Thus a brand name is a word or combination of words (e.g. Kentucky Fried Chicken). A slogan is a short phrase or a sentence and a logo is a distinctive picture or symbol. They all provide a distinctive identity in the marketplace, and can be used in respect of products and services.

When a trade mark (brand name, slogan or logo) has been registered, nobody else can use this trade mark, or one that is similar, without risk of legal action.

Trademark Examples

Brand or Business Name

This is a word, for example: NIKE, or a combination of words, for example:  KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN.

A Logo

  • This is a distinctive picture or symbol, for example the Mercedes-Benz “Star”, or the Nike swoosh “v”, or the MacDonalds “M”.
  • It is your company logo or other symbol or design used to create brand recognition.

A Specific Shape

  • The Coca Cola bottle or the Weber Kettle Braai.
  • South African companies wishing to protect product shape should certainly consider trade mark registration as an option.

 

A Slogan

  • This is a type of trade mark and is a short phrase or sentence. For example, HOW CAN WE HELP YOU? of First National Bank.
  •  A slogan can capture the brand’s promise or essence in just a few words.
  • Although you are highly unlikely to ever ask for a product by its slogan, you may make certain assumptions when you see it in use.