Region: South Africa

Cape High Court decision "of great concern to wine industry"

The Cape High Court has held that grapes and wine are not “similar goods” in a trademark sense, finding that confusion would not arise between Zonquasdrift wine and Zonquasdrif Vineyard grapes. It remains to be seen whether the decision will be appealed - for now, however, all wine farms producing and selling grapes should apply for protection in Class 31 for grapes themselves, as well as in Class 33 for wine.

26 June 2012

Supreme Court of Appeal hands down important judgment on pharma marks

In <i>Adcock Ingram Intellectual Property (Pty) Ltd v Cipla Medpro (Pty) Ltd</i>, the Supreme Court of Appeal has reconsidered the notion that pharmaceuticals sold on prescription are less likely to be confused because they are dispensed by trained professionals in regulated circumstances. In doing so, the court questioned the relevance of findings in a 1983 leading case, also involving appellant Adcock, in contemporary society.

18 April 2012

Mark owners must provide clear evidence of sales to defend expungement actions

In <i>New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc v Dajee NO</i>, the Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed New Balance’s appeal against a decision of the registrar of trademarks to expunge the marks P-F FLYERS and P-F on the grounds of non-use. Among other things, the court noted that the evidence provided by New Balance did not include any invoices or delivery notes recording purchases or receipt of stock that was claimed to have been sold under the marks.

27 March 2012

ASA orders Woolworths to withdraw use of advertising slogan

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that retailer Woolworths (Pty) Ltd must stop using the phrase 'good old fashioned', as it imitates beverage manufacturer Frankie’s Olde Soft Drinks' 'good old fashioned soft drinks' advertising slogan. Woolworths had argued that the phrases 'old fashioned' or 'good old fashioned' are descriptive and do not qualify as advertising property.

16 February 2012

Court shows how critical analysis of products should be conducted in passing-off case

In <i>Swartkops Sea Salt (Pty) Ltd v Cerebos Limited</i>, the Eastern Cape High Court was called upon to decide whether Cerebos Limited’s braai salt get-up amounted to passing off in respect of Swartkops Sea Salt (Pty) Ltd’s braai salt. This case provides a valuable example of how a critical analysis of the differences between products which are the subject of a passing-off dispute should be conducted.

01 December 2011

High Court finds unfair advantage based on use of descriptive term

In <i>Southern Liqueur Company Ltd v SLD Liquor Manufacturers Ltd</i>, the High Court has found unfair advantage and a likelihood of confusion based on the use of a descriptive term. The case involved the use of the term ‘Marula’ (a fruit of the Marula tree) for Marula cream liqueur.

13 October 2011

Court considers misuse of personality rights in advert

In <i>Kumalo v Cycle Lab (Pty) Ltd</i>, cycling star Andrew McLean’s shop Cycle Lab (Pty) Ltd was called upon to defend claims by ex-Miss South Africa and business personality Basetsana Kumalo that her rights had been abused. The facts of this case sit at the crossroads of passing off, trademark infringement, common law personality rights and the constitutional right to privacy.

21 July 2011

Trademark portfolios must comply with new labelling regulations

The regulations governing the labelling of food have been modified to keep in line with international trends. The purpose of the amendments is to assist consumers in making informed choices about food. For example, under Regulation 13, food labels and advertisements may not contain words, pictures, marks or descriptions which create the impression that the food is endorsed by a health practitioner.

30 June 2011

Marks sharing same ‘dex’ suffix held to be confusingly similar

In <i>ABE Construction Chemicals (Pty) Limited v Ardex Gesellschaft Mit Beschrankter Haftung</i>, the Tribunal of the Registrar of Trademarks has upheld an opposition by the owner of the trademark ARDEX against the registration of the trademark ABEDEX. Among other things, the tribunal concluded that the respective marks were phonetically and conceptually similar, and that confusion or deception was likely.

19 May 2011

Oilwell judgment: an ‘open season’ on offshore IP transactions?

In <i>Oilwell (Pty) Ltd v Protec International Ltd</i>, the Supreme Court of Appeal has brought clarity to the exchange control issues surrounding the transfer of the ownership of intellectual property offshore. Among other things, the court ruled that the assignment of intellectual property from a South African resident to a non-resident does not require approval in terms of regulation 10(1)(c) of the Exchange Control Regulations.

19 April 2011

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