Search Trademark

Before filing a trademark in South Africa, you should conduct a trademark search.

There are various options to search for your trademark. We suggest: start with the free option; if you can’t find anything relevant, ask a trademark attorney to conduct a professional trademark registrability search. The potential cost of not conducting a trademark search before filing outweighs the cost of a professional search.

Conduct free identical trademark searches through TM Direct

The TM Direct online filing system operated by S&Z Trademark Attorneys includes a free identical trademark search facility.

Free South African trademark search

Pros: It's free and easy to use.

Cons:

  • The identical search finds only exact matches. If the spelling of a registered trademark is only slightly different to the mark searched for, the registered trademark will not be flagged.
  • The TM Direct database is not "live", and trademarks filed within the previous month or so may not be included in the records searched.

Conducting a basic search of CIPC's online trademark register

  1. Go to CIPC's trademark search facility.
  2. If you do not already have one, create an account with CIPC.
  3. CIPC trademark search

  4. Once you've logged in, click "Free Search" from the dropdown menu under "Trade Marks".
  5. Enter the words you wish to search where it says "Verbal Mark", click the class you are interested in and then "Search". You can only search one class at a time.
  6. CIPC search trademark classes

  7. Your search will return results (if there are any), and you may view details about the individual trademarks you are interested in by clicking on the application number.

Pros: This search is very useful to identify whether the exact trademark you are interested in has already been filed. An exact match will almost certainly bar you from registering your mark.

Cons: You must be clear regarding: what you're looking for (for instance, the status of trademarks plays a part); and the classes of interest. Bear in mind that your trademark search should extend to "conflicting classes".

Conducting a special search of CIPC's online register

You may ask the Trademarks Office to conduct a trademark search by: completing Form TM2; and submitting it with the Trademarks Office together with proof of payment in the amount of R190.

Pros: This is a cost‐effective way of searching for identical or confusingly similar trademarks in the class you are interested in.

Cons:

  • The Form TM2 needs to be completed properly and the original sent to the Trademarks Office.
  • In order to pay, a virtual account needs to be created and monies deposited into the account (refunds are incredibly difficult to effect).
  • The turnaround time is several weeks / months.
  • The search report is brief and does not provide options regarding how to overcome potential risks.

Conducting a trademark registrability search through a Trademark Attorney

Simply:

  1. provide us with details of your trademark (i.e. the mark/name and a description of the goods/services you will be using it for); and
  2. our trademark attorney will contact you with details on how to proceed with a professional trademark registrability search for R2,500 plus vat.

Pros:

  • The search comprises an in‐depth report on confusingly similar trademarks of concern (within the target class and conflicting classes) and advice on how to proceed in light of the flagged trademarks. The professional registrability search also searches domains and company names. The report provides a comprehensive overview regarding your chance of successfully registering your trademark.
  • The turnaround time is 1-3 business days from the date that proof of payment is received.
  • The Trademark Attorney is skilled in identifying risks and advising on ways to overcome them.
  • If you receive a favourable report, you will have peace of mind knowing that the trademark you are interested in has a good chance of becoming registered.

Cons: There aren't any.

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Intangible Consulting (Pty) Ltd.
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South Africa

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