‘Goedkoop is duurkoop’ when applying to register a Trademark in South Africa
The above captioned Afrikaans metaphor loosely translated means cheap (now) is expensive (in the long run), finds no better application than in the case of Trademark applications.
If you have ever googled “register a trademark in South Africa” you will have no doubt been peppered with fly by night operators advertising registrations at discounted prices. With or without a proper official or unofficial search, and opinion, applications more often than not end up either being rejected, refused or accepted conditionally, opposed or simply misfiled, archived or even lost, ultimately requiring professional expertise to resolve.
In context, yet another adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ applies – It’s far cheaper to approach a professional trademark attorney at the outset, than to fix a botched application. So much so that CIPC has prohibited representation by so-called ‘agents’ who are not registered legal practitioners. Accordingly, the majority of these operators are either no longer in operation or mere fronts.
Paying money to such operators is cautioned against, as unlike attorneys with trust accounts covered by the fidelity fund, there is little prospect of delivery or recovering money misappropriated. Other than cost, registered practitioners will not only save you money but are sworn to confidentiality, ethically bound to ensure professional prompt and reasonably priced service.
Furthermore, once registered, trademarks require commercialisation to be successful, externalisation for global expansion and tax mitigation, when profitable, renewal and surveillance, including a trademark watch of potentially infringing publications in the Journal. All of these steps require expertise from specialised professionals passionate about brand management capable of advising on and mitigating against the pitfalls along the way.
It therefore makes far more sense to involve a specialist from the outset and ensure that they are invested in the journey.
By Roxanne Northover
www.kwplaw.co.za/intellectual-property-and-trademarks/ – Specialising in Trademarks, Property, Commercialisation, Externalisation and Tax law.