“A patent or invention is any assemblage of technologies or ideas that is put together that nobody put together that way before. That’s an invention.” – Dean Kamen
A South African trade mark application may claim priority from a foreign trade mark application provided the South African application is filed within 6 months from the filing date of a corresponding trade mark application in a convention country.
The following are required to secure a valid filing date in respect of a trade mark application:
Full name(s) and registered address(es) of each applicant
Priority application number(s), country and date(s)
Representation of the trade mark
Class and specification of goods and/or services
The following additional documents are required to complete the filing requirements of a trade mark application:
Power of Attorney – signed by the applicant (no legalization of formal documents is required)
A certified copy of the priority document. If the priority document is not in English, a certified English translation is required.
South Africa has an examination system for trade marks – i.e. trade mark applications are examined formally, both for their inherent registrability, as well as for conflicting marks on the Trade Marks Register. Examination reports issue as one or more Official Actions. A First Official Action typically issues from the CIPC at approximately 12 months from the South African filing date.
After a trade mark application is accepted, the application is published in the South African Patent Journal (which is published in a monthly basis) for a statutory three months opposition term. The purpose of the opposition term is to afford interested third parties an opportunity to oppose the trade mark application based on their prior common law rights.
A trade mark registration has an initial duration of 10 years, after which it can be renewed indefinitely, subject to the payment of renewal fees every 10 years.
Under International Trade Mark Convention, a foreign trade mark applicant is entitled, within six months of the date of lodging an application in another member state of the Convention, to file a corresponding application in South Africa and to have such application backdated to the filing date of the foreign application. The same 6-months priority period applies to an application filed in South Africa and extended to countries outside of South Africa.
South Africa is a member of the Paris Convention, but not of the Madrid Protocol.
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