Have you seen companies use the symbols “TM” or “®” with their name or logo?
Have you ever wondered what this means? In this video we cover all the basics around Trade Marks including what it is, what you can and cannot register, how a Trade Mark is registered and even some practical tips when using your Trade Mark. Please remember this post does not constitute a legal consultation. We share this for educational purposes only. We aim to empower all South African Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners through education on all the “legal stuff” in running your own business.
What is a Trade Mark?
Per definition, a Trade Mark is a means of identifying your services or goods. This means, by recognising your Trade Mark, the client can distinguish your product or service from the others on the market.
What can be registered as a Trade Mark?
Your Trade Mark can include a name, signature, word, letter, numeral, shape, configuration, pattern, ornamentation, colour, container for goods or a combination thereof.
What cannot be registered as a Trade Mark?
A “Mark” lacking inherent distinctiveness cannot be registered. A geographical locations or geographical term cannot be registered. While maybe stating the obvious – you cannot register a Trade Mark which has been registered by someone else.
How are Trade Marks registered?
You start with doing a Trade Mark search (Did you know you can do your own FREE Trade Mark Search?) and once you have confirmed that your Mark has not been registered by someone else, you can file your Trade Mark application. The application is then examined by the Registrar and, once approved, moves to publication which triggers an opposition period. And if no one apposes your application, your Trade Mark will proceed to grant.
How to use your Trade Mark
Even before registering your Trade Mark you should use “TM” every time you use your business or product name, logo or slogan. Here are some practical tips when using your “TM” or “®”:
- The correct way is to use your trademark as an adjective: “Use your IP BraaiTM tongs on a tjoppie” – Correct
- Never use it as a noun or verb: “IP BraaiTM your tjoppies” – Incorrect
- Best practice is to use capital letters: “Use your IP BRAAITM tongs on a tjoppie”
Are you ready to register your own Trade Mark?
If you require any further assistance, feel free to get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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