Region: South Africa

OAPI adopts 11th edition of the Nice Classification

The Trademarks Registry of the African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI) announced recently that all new trademark applications which are filed at the OAPI Registry need to conform to the latest (11th) edition of the Nice Classification system on the registration of trademarks. OAPI has acceded to a number of international treaties aimed at creating a modern and dynamic framework and to harmonise administrative procedures in the registration of titles.

22 June 2017

‘Drop-catching’ defence tested in South African domain name complaint

The practice of drop catching in the South African domain name space (‘’) was considered for the first time in a dispute concerning the domain name ‘’. The adjudicator ruled that the domain name registration abused the complainant’s rights. Where the domain name in dispute is identical to the complaint’s trademark, the onus is on the registrant to prove that the domain name is not abusive.

09 June 2017

Trademarks with dictionary meanings risk becoming meaningless in Africa

A string of recent decisions finding that a mark’s ordinary meaning negatively affects its ability to serve as a unique indicator of source could have a significant impact on brand owners

01 May 2017

YUPPIECHEF fails to establish infringement

One of South Africa’s most successful and established online retailers, Yuppiechef, recently failed in the Supreme Court of Appeal to establish trademark infringement or passing off against a rival online retailer based on its trademark YUPPIECHEF.

10 November 2016

The dominant feature test: not so Lucky after all

Recent decisions involving the application of established trademark principles in infringement and opposition proceedings in South Africa are proving a cause of some concern

01 November 2016

Trademark and passing-off litigation in sub-Saharan Africa

The rise in numbers of trademark cases is good news for brand owners operating in sub-Saharan Africa and should help to develop a robust body of case law for this area

01 November 2016

CLEARVU is again the subject matter of litigation proceedings

The trademark CLEARVU has again been the subject matter of litigation proceedings. After going head to head in South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal over CLEARVU as a Google Adword, M-Systems Group Ltd recently opposed Cochrane Steel Product Ltd’s application to register the trademark, arguing that CLEARVU was not capable of distinguishing.

23 September 2016

Venturing into Africa: law firm opportunity and risk in an evolving IP landscape

For this week’s blog post from the <em>WTR 1000</em> research team, it is timely to consider the current state of trademark protection in Africa.

15 August 2016

Supreme Court of Appeal upholds ruling in Africa’s first AdWords case

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court ruling that bidding on a competitor’s trademark as a keyword, without more, is not passing off.

07 July 2016

Clarity on Google AdWords in South Africa

Google AdWords have been the subject of a number of disputes in various territories. The decision in <i>Cochrane Steel Products v M-Systems Group</i> has provided much-needed clarity regarding this advertising practice.

27 June 2016

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