South African trademark search

Before filing a South African trademark, conduct a trademark search through the South African Trademarks Office’s (CIPC‘s) records.

Why conduct a South African trademark search?

You may have “created” your brand, but unless you conduct a trademark search, you are merely presuming that it’s new. You’re permitted to file a South African trademark without first conducting a search, but the risk is that:

  • you file the trademark application;
  • you invest in packaging, stock, marketing and advertising;
  • in 9 months’ time, when the South African Trademarks Office examines your trademark, the examiner finds a confusingly similar registered trademark in a similar class; and
  • you are forced to: destroy your stock; rebrand your product / service; and start the trademark process from scratch.

The potential loss far outweighs the cost of a search – especially since there’s a free search option.

There’s no rush to file a trademark. You may start trading today and file your trademark next week, next month or next year. So, do it properly.

What to search for

Search for confusingly similar trademarks in the same (or associated) classes. Check for registered trademarks that:

  • sound similar, e.g. if your trademark is PNEUMATICA search for NUMATIKA; or
  • look similar, e.g. FCUK (i.e. French Connection UK) and its confusingly similar counterpart;

The test is whether use of your trademark may deceive a customer of the other product / service.

How to conduct a South African trademark search

Ask one of our trademark attorneys to conduct a registrability search for R2,500 plus vat. The search takes a few days, whereafter we will send you a search report, together with an opinion regarding what to register in light of the report.

Alternatively, try your hand at conducting your own trademark search using the free South African trademark search facility.

Trademark Search

This free trademark search facility searches for identical registered trademarks. So, you will need to input all confusingly similar variants of your mark.

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