Region: South Africa

ALBEX court clarifies scope of anti-dilution provision

The Cape Town High Court has cleared up any uncertainty as to the scope of protection afforded by Section 34(1)(c) of the Trademarks Act against dilution of a well-known mark. It held that the provision (i) also applies to goods identical to those for which the well-known mark is registered, and (ii) can be used even in the absence of a finding of confusion.

26 March 2004

South African Revenue Service cracks down on counterfeit goods

The South African Revenue Service has tightened up its procedures and operations relating to the seizure of counterfeit goods entering the country. The new policy means that containers will only be stopped in instances where an intellectual property right owner has applied to SARS requesting that it detain and seize suspected counterfeit goods.

27 January 2004

Fortune favours National Brands in cookie conflict

An Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) committee has ordered Kwality Biscuits to withdraw from sale products whose packaging and labelling closely imitate the get-up of equivalents manufactured by National Brands. The committee held that it had jurisdiction to hear the complaint, even though Kwality Biscuits is not a member of the ASA.

09 September 2003

Bottle shape mark risks cancellation following competitors' alleged infringement

A South African wine producer has filed trademark infringement actions against local retailers for their use of bottle shapes allegedly similar to its registered flagon shape mark. The complainant will have to prove that its competitors copied the distinctive elements of the bottle as well as fight off their application to cancel the mark for lack of distinctiveness.

28 July 2003

Spring Fresh not fresh enough, says tribunal

In <i>Reckitt Benckiser (Pty) Ltd v Unilever SA (Pty) Ltd</i>, the Advertising Industry Tribunal of the Advertising Standards Authority has dismissed Reckitt Benckiser's complaint against three separate companies for their use of the term 'Spring Fresh'. The tribunal held that Spring Fresh is a widely-used generic term that has not become a brand or sub-brand in its own right.

26 June 2003

High Court fails to see the joke in BLACK LABEL parody

In a landmark ruling, the High Court has held that the defendant Laugh it off's sale of T-shirts printed with the phrase 'Black Labour - White Guilt' in lettering that matched the plaintiff South African Breweries' BLACK LABEL mark violated the company's trademark rights. The decision has been seen as a serious blow to freedom of expression in South Africa.

28 May 2003

First National Bank's 'premier' application rejected

The Supreme Court has dismissed First National Bank of Southern Africa's application to register the words 'premier' and 'premier package' for banking and financial services. The court held that although it is possible for these words to acquire distinctiveness through use, they cannot be registered because they are reasonably required for use in the trade.

01 May 2003

Football association loses fight for clothing mark

In <i>South African Football Association v Stanton Woodrush (Pty) Ltd</i>, the South African Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed the plaintiff's claim that it owns the BAFANA BAFANA trademark in relation to all goods, including clothing. The term '<i>bafana bafana</i>' means 'the boys, the boys' and has been the nickname of the national football team since 1992.

04 March 2003

WIPO conclusion benefits government fight for ''

A WIPO committee investigating the use of geographical names as domain names has concluded that most governments believe that country names deserve protection against registration or use by persons unconnected with the country in question. This supports South Africa's claim that geographical names are part of a country's sovereignty and has significant bearing on its fight for ''.

10 September 2002

Parliament gives controversial e-commerce law the OK

South Africa's Parliament has approved a law designed to expand access to the Internet, but critics say it could force the network to shut down in the country. The new Electronic Communications and Transactions Act regulates all electronic transactions and communications, and provides for the administration of the '.za' domain to be taken over by a government body without seeking the approval of ICANN.

08 July 2002

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