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June 12 2017
The manufacturer of a new craft beer may use an interesting name and a creative logo, but does this mean that its brand is protected?
For example, a craft beer manufacturer uses the product name Stickmen, together with a unique and distinctive logo (Figure 1).
If the manufacturer does not protect its brand, another party will likely try to obtain the IP rights – especially if the brand increases in popularity. A clash will undoubtedly result, which could be avoided by the manufacturer securing trademark protection for its product name and logo in good time.
By securing and filing trademark applications for its product name and logo, the manufacturer would likely be able to prevent other parties in South Africa from using an identical or confusingly similar name and logo in relation to craft beer or beer tasting operations. The trademarks would distinguish the brand from those of other third-party traders operating in the craft beer industry and give the manufacturer an identity in the market place.
There are 45 different trademark classes in South Africa. Class 32 covers beer and would thus be the relevant class in this case. However, if the manufacturer also ran a restaurant or had a beer tasting operation under the Stickmen brand name, it could also protect its trademarks in Class 43, which covers restaurant services and beer tasting.
Securing exclusive rights in a trademark can be infinite, as long as the rights holder renews its trademark registrations every 10 years from the initial filing date.
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