Trade Mark Logo

Most companies protect their brand by trade mark registering their name and logo. Our tips when registering names and logos are to:

  • type the name in capital letters, as your trade mark rights will not be case-sensitive; and
  • submit the logo as a Black & White image, as your trade mark rights will extend to all colour combinations.

But, don’t stop at registering the name and logo.

Trade marks can be much more

These days, trade marks extend into spheres traditionally considered the exclusive domain of designs and copyright. For instance:

JOCKEY protects the shape of their Y and H-fronts using trade marks. Traditionally, Jockey would have filed design applications to protect the shape and configuration of their underpants. But, whereas a South African design registration lasts from 10-15 years, a trade mark can continue in perpetuity (if renewed). We can only guess at what the P-Front was meant to look like.

Jockey y-front trade markJockey y-front trade mark

PUMA protects its clever little bag using trade marks. Again, a design registration would have worked equally well. But, since the Puma bag was so distinctive, why pass up the opportunity for a perpetual trade mark right. Nike did the same for its orange-dipped box.

Puma bag trade mark

CAFE NAPOLI and BOARDRIDERS protect the look of their stores – both inside and out. In contrast, McDonalds and Burger King protect the look and layout of their restaurants by filing design registrations.

Cafe napoli trade mark

KIT KAT‘s design registration would have expired long ago. That is why Kit Kat tried to extend their rights over their 1, 2 and 4 finger chocolate shapes by filing trade marks. In Europe, there was only one niggling problem: a little known Norwegian chocolate called the Kvikk Lunsj … a Kit Kat in all but name. This little Norwegian treat rendered the Kit Kat not distinctive (and, therefore not trade mark registrable) in Europe.

kit kat kvikk lunsj trade mark

ED HARDY and IRON MAIDEN clearly think that their graphics will remain popular for more than 50 years – the term of copyright protection in South Africa. So, they overlapped their copyright with trade mark rights.

ed hardy trade mark

iron maiden trade mark

DR MARTENS and VANNS considered their sole designs sufficiently distinctive to file trade marks. Most trade mark examiners agreed.

Dr Martens vanns trade mark

DR JEKYLL tonic water was surprisingly granted a trade mark for the shape of their bottle, despite it being so very, very similar to the frustoconical Campari bottle. The design registration for this bottle would have been very limited in scope. The surprising little trade mark is arguably much broader.

dr jekyll campari trade mark

BRUSCHETTA – that slice of half-stale bread is protected by a trade mark. I doubt anyone would even have attempted a design registration for this.

bruschetta trade mark

RIGO enjoys perpetual trademark rights for the shape of its jelly bear. When a jelly baby starts looking too much like a jelly bear, I don’t know.

Jelly Bear trade mark

And, why not extend protection to a pay-off line? Just please don’t follow HURLEY‘s lead:

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