Trade Marks

Validity and enforceability of international registrations in African countries through to long response times from local registries – these are some of the concerns and challenges that international brand owners face when looking to protect their trade marks across such a vast continent with numerous laws and practices. Similar issues exist in the Caribbean.

We work with companies to ensure that, as a minimum, their house trade marks are protected in African countries that are known as counterfeiting hotspots, those with strong economic markets where their goods and services are available, and countries where their brands are being manufactured.

Our trade mark search, formalities and prosecution teams manage trade mark portfolios at all stages:

  • Advice on all aspects of filing strategies such as the best way to protect each brand (e.g. colour, 3D, word marks) to a tiered approach in terms of choosing which countries to focus on
  • Initial trade mark searches and advice on the best clearance strategy
  • Specification drafting and review
  • All aspects of filing trade mark applications through to registration including providing opinions on the registrability of trade marks
  • Official actions including responding to objections raised by Registrars and third parties
  • Recording changes in name and address of owners, assignments and licenses
  • renewal of trade marks

Our litigation and anti-counterfeiting teams are at hand should any enforcement issues arise such as oppositions against trade mark applications or negotiating settlement or co-existence agreements, when necessary, to overcome prior mark citations.

Important considerations when filing trade marks in Africa

  • Protect your non-core brands and services as well as your house brands and services - they can be equally as vulnerable if they are not adequately covered. In Africa it is even more important to register intellectual property (IP) rights, as enforcing unregistered common law rights can be fraught with difficulty. It is not uncommon for rogue entities to identify IP rights that have not been registered and register those rights in their own name
  • Sufficient lead-in time is essential to protect marks across Africa, especially in ‘first to file’ countries - the prosecution timeframe in each country depends on the type of system, whether examination is involved, resources at each Registry and their capacity to handle volume
  • Searches are highly recommended although these can be challenging due to different standards of record-keeping at each registry (searches are compulsory in Uganda)
  • Many countries still require a separate application for each class of goods or services but multi-class systems are available in 20 countries (including ARIPO and OAPI)

contact us for further information.

The Team

Herman Blignaut

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

h.blignaut@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1129

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Jennifer Colantoni

Jersey, Channel Islands

Director

j.colantoni@spoor.co.uk

+ 44 1534 838 028

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Matthew Costard

Jersey, Channel Islands

Director

m.costard@spoor.co.uk

+ 44 1534 838 015

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Gerard du Toit

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

g.dutoit@spoor.com

+27 12 676 1018

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Stephen Goldberg

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

s.goldberg@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1136

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Juli Hopf

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

j.hopf@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1065

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Julie Hughes

Jersey, Channel Islands

Consultant

j.hughes@spoor.co.uk

+ 44 1534 838 000

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Craig Kahn

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

c.kahn@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1110

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Mohamed Khader

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

m.khader@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1285

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Duncan Maguire

Jersey, Channel Islands

Director

d.maguire@spoor.co.uk

+ 44 1534 838 089

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Jean McIvor

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

j.mcivor@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1209

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Wayne Meiring

Jersey, Channel Islands

Director

w.meiring@spoor.co.uk

+ 44 1534 838 042

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Hugh Melamdowitz

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

h.melamdowitz@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1222

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Louise Myburgh

Cape Town, South Africa

Partner

l.myburgh@spoor.com

+ 27 21 673 4404

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Shamin Raghunandan

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

s.raghunandan@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1138

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Paul Ramara

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

p.ramara@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1212

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Megan Reimers

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

m.reimers@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1081

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Kay Rickelman

Pretoria, South Africa

Foreign Counsel

k.rickelman@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1213

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Mike Sevant

Jersey, Channel Islands

Director

m.sevant@spoor.co.uk

+ 44 1534 838 000

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Tshepo Shabangu

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

t.shabangu@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1126

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Marco van der Merwe

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

m.vdmerwe@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1218

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Carl van Rooyen

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

c.vanrooyen@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1288

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Eben van Wyk

Cape Town, South Africa

Partner

e.vanwyk@spoor.com

+ 27 21 673 4439

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Chris Walters

Jersey, Channel Islands

Director

c.walters@spoor.co.uk

+ 44 1534 838 073

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Charles Webster

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

c.webster@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1279

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John Foster

Cape Town, South Africa

Senior Associate

j.foster@spoor.com

+ 27 21 673 4441

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Cheryl Payne

Pretoria, South Africa

Senior Associate

c.payne@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1131

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Jeremy Speres

Cape Town, South Africa

Senior Associate

j.speres@spoor.com

+ 27 21 673 4401

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Linda Thilivhali

Pretoria, South Africa

Partner

l.thilivhali@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1120

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Reinard Krüger

Pretoria, South Africa

Senior Associate

r.kruger@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1680

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Michael Lamont

Pretoria, South Africa

Associate

m.lamont@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1169

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Kaajal Nagindas

Pretoria, South Africa

Associate

k.nagindas@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1681

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Femke van Dyk

Pretoria, South Africa

Senior Associate

f.vandyk@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1668

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Sonja van Dalsen

Pretoria, South Africa

Associate

s.vandalsen@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1286

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Brendon Ambrose

Pretoria, South Africa

Candidate Attorney

b.ambrose@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1310

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Linda Barnett

Jersey, Channel Islands

Senior Paralegal

l.barnett@spoor.co.uk

+ 44 1534 838 041

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Nola Pontes

Jersey, Channel Islands

Associate

n.pontes@spoor.co.uk

+44 1534 838 050

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Heather Shaw

Jersey, Channel Islands

Trade Mark Searches

h.shaw@spoor.co.uk

+44 1534 838 059

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Doreen Wilson

Jersey, Channel Islands

Senior Paralegal

d.wilson@spoor.co.uk

+ 44 1534 838 068

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Dr Owen Dean

Cape Town, South Africa

Consultant

o.dean@spoor.com

+ 27 21 673 4400

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Russell Norton

Cape Town, South Africa

Consultant

r.norton@spoor.com

+27 21 673 4417

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Louis van Wyk

Pretoria, South Africa

Consultant

lj.vanwyk@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1111

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Faan Wolvaardt

Pretoria, South Africa

Consultant

f.wolvaardt@spoor.com

+ 27 12 676 1265

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Julie Mullane

Jersey, Channel Islands

Trade Mark Formalities

j.mullane@spoor.co.uk

+ 44 1534 838 045

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