Connect with us

Trademarks

Trademark registration is a critical first step in the building of your brand. Protect the valuable intellectual capital of your business.

Faan Wolvaardt

Published

on

trademark sign

A trademark registration gives its proprietor the exclusive right to use that mark. Such a right is nothing other than a concession or a legal monopoly.

Generally, the law is reluctant to grant monopolies – when they are granted, they tend to be restricted. The law will therefore interpret monopolies in a restrictive way. Because of this, patents and copyright, for example, have a restricted term or life.

Trademarks, by contrast, do not have a restricted term and may be renewed indefinitely. However, the extent of the monopoly is restricted by requiring that a trademark be registered in a specific class or classes. There is another reason for registering trademarks in such classes: to simplify the administration of the registration process.

South Africa uses the “International Classification of Goods and Services” which is applied in most countries. This classification regime is regulated by the provisions of the Nice Agreement and consists of 45 classes. There are 34 classes of goods and 11 classes covering services. Roughly speaking, the classes group together goods or services that emanate from, or belong to, the same or related industries. For example: metal building materials and other goods from common metal belong together in one class, while building materials not made from metal belong together in another class.

When you apply to register a trademark, the application must be filed in a specific class or classes. Local practice requires that an application may cover goods or services falling in only one class. The costs for filing and registration increase by the number of classes covered, and that makes it important to cover only the classes that are really important.

Trademark law requires that an applicant for registration of a trademark must have a present and definite intention to use the mark in relation to the goods (or services) covered by the application. This means that one cannot validly register a trademark for all goods or in all the classes unless there is a present intention for use in relation to such goods or classes of goods. Hence, it is necessary to consider precisely what the goods of interest are and to register only in the appropriate classes.

There is a requirement that a registered trademark must be used. If it is not used, the holder of the monopoly can be forced to vacate the monopoly to make place for someone else who needs to use it.

Registering a Trademark

Trademarking can protect your business’s valuable intellectual capital such as its brand name, slogan, logo or even a specific shape relating to your business (the most obvious example is the Coca-Cola bottle). Once registered, no one can use that trademark or something that is similar without risking legal action.

If it meets all these requirements, you can pay to have a special preliminary search conducted on the Trademarks Register (fill in form TM2) to make sure that there are no existing prior rights of a similar mark which could prevent the registration of yours. CIPRO (Companies and Intellectual Property Office), which administers the Register, charges R85 for this service, which takes approximately seven days.

Once it’s clear that your mark does not clash with another registered trademark, you can proceed to registration. To do so you need to complete three copies of form TM1 and pay CIPRO R266 for each application. You need to make a separate application for each class of goods and services (eg. manufacturing and selling computers are two separate classes). Your application will be allocated an application date and number. Bear in mind that you need to renew your trademark every ten years, which costs R121.

Ensure Your Trademark:

  • Is distinctive (it distinguishes you from other businesses)
  • Is a sign that indicates the
  • “kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin or other characteristics of your goods or services”
  • Is not something that has become customary in your field of trade
  • Is not offensive and doesn’t go against the law.

Trade marks manager at Bowman Gilfillan.

Advertisement
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Company Posts

Executive Education Geared For Industry 4.0

The Johannesburg Business School (JBS) was established in 2017 as part of the College of Business and Economics at the University of Johannesburg.

University of Johannesburg

Published

on

prof-l-white

JBS offers a range of innovative executive programmes, expertly designed to develop effective, ethical and enterprising African leaders. With an emphasis on contextual intelligence, leaders are equipped to successfully navigate and overcome the complexities of today’s world, while advancing the evolution of the business environment for the benefit of their organisations and society.

All programmes designed and delivered by the JBS are grounded in the African context, with a strong global connection, for disruptors, entrepreneurs and managers alike. Business with purpose and an impact on the community, increasingly part of day-to-day business in Africa, underpins what JBS represents and does.

JBS is built around three pillars:

  1. Delivering world-class business education with a focus on the African context.
  2. Designing programmes geared for Industry 4.0 and the future world of work.
  3. Providing a platform to stimulate and inform purpose-driven business practices towards a collective impact across the continent.

We are authentically African with disruption and innovation at heart

At JBS we believe higher education is vital to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and ensuring that Africa becomes ‘future fit’. As such, the JBS partners with entities outside of the conventional business education space, with the idea to innovate and reinvent leadership development and education in an ever-changing business environment.

Our Executive Education portfolio provides managers and leaders with offerings that are relevant to the complex and disruptive nature of work, arming them with the skills to successfully navigate the rapidly changing business environment.

Our programmes are delivered with best in class faculty who encourage critical analysis and thinking, while emphasising contextual intelligence and conscious learning. The aim of our offerings is to advance the evolution of the business environment for the benefit of organisations and society at large.

JBS offers bespoke training programmes aligned to organisational strategic imperatives and people development frameworks. Our short courses are designed to equip entrepreneurs and leaders with functional excellence across the practice of management.

The JBS Masterclass offerings is growing in popularity and is available in cross-disciplinary fields, like Strategy, Marketing, Human Resources, Innovation, Coaching and Mentoring, to name a few. These 3-hour interactive sessions provide delegates with the latest insights and a practical view of shifting trends and their impact on business.

Visit www.jbs.ac.za for more information on upcoming programmes

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

3 Stealthy Tax Hikes Payroll Managers And Employees Need To Take Note Of

By Rob Cooper, tax expert at Sage, and chairman of the Payroll Authors Group of South Africa

Entrepreneur

Published

on

tax-increase

“Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.” 

The adage summarises the difficult decisions government and the Finance Minister faced when balancing the country’s books, rescuing state-owned enterprises, and reviving the growth of our economy. Given the economic pressure that most taxpayers are facing, government ideally needed to achieve all of that without direct increases to personal income tax in the most recent Budget Speech.

Personal income tax has comprised at least a third of South Africa’s total tax revenue in recent tax years, despite growing unemployment. The 2019 Budget, presented in February, forecasts that personal income tax will account for nearly 39% of tax collected during the upcoming (2019/20) tax year. Given that we are in an election year and that the tax base is fragile, it’s not surprising that the Finance Minister and the National Treasury avoided direct increases to the statutory tax tables used to calculate PAYE for employees in the budget.

Nonetheless, government has made inflation work in its favour to impose some tax increases by stealth. Here are three ways government is raising more revenue without direct tax increases:

1. Bracket creep

The statutory tax tables used by payrolls and employers have not been changed for 2019/20, nor have the brackets been adjusted for inflation. This effectively amounts to an indirect tax increase that will yield a revenue saving of approximately R12.8 billion for government’s coffers.

It is not unusual for government to use ‘bracket creep’ to effectively raise more revenue. But unlike previous tax years, even low- and middle-income earners are not getting much relief. Rebates and the tax threshold are being increased by small amounts to allow some relief, but many people this year will feel the pain as inflationary salary increases push them into a higher tax bracket.

2. Medical aid credit not adjusted for inflation 

As proposed in the 2018 Budget, the Finance Minister did not apply an inflationary increase to the Medical Tax Credit, which allowed him to raise an extra R1 billion in revenue for the year. Surprisingly, these funds will be allocated to general tax revenue rather than ring-fenced for healthcare. In previous tax years, revenue generated from below-inflation increases on medical scheme credits was used to fund National Health Insurance (NHI) pilot projects.

There is still no clarity on how the NHI is going to be funded except for a general statement that the funding model is a problem for the National Treasury to solve, and that the principles of cross-subsidisation will apply. One wonders if any real progress will be made soon, given the fiscal constraints government faces.

3. Business travel deduction left untouched

The Budget leaves the per-kilometre cost rates used to determine tax deductions for business travel untouched. By not increasing travel rates to account for inflation, government effectively increases income tax collection at the cost of the taxpayer. This will be a blow for people who need to claim from their employers for business travel in their personal vehicles. This change has slipped through largely unnoticed and the budget does not provide numbers for the expected increase in tax revenue.

Closing words

Amid political turmoil and uncertainty, the Finance Minister presented a balanced budget for 2019/20 that offers hope for the future along with some tough love. With government taking steps to accelerate economic growth and improve revenue collection, we should hopefully see a steady improvement in government finances, which will translate into less pressure on the taxpayer in future years.

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

SMEs: Staying On The Right Side Of The Taxman

Remaining SARS compliant can be a constant challenge for small- to medium-enterprises (SMEs), especially when they are trying to focus on growing their businesses and streamlining their operations.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

tax

EasyBiz Managing Director, Gary Epstein, says submitting taxes can be a seamless process that does not have to take up more time than is necessary. “If business owners understand what is required of them and they put a few processes into place to deal with their tax submissions properly, their lives will be so much easier.”

What are the top three considerations for SMEs when submitting tax returns?

“Firstly,” says Epstein, “SARS returns must be accurate and submitted in terms of the relevant Act. Secondly, returns should be submitted and paid on time to avoid unnecessary penalties and interest, and thirdly, business owners must follow up on queries issued by SARS. “Do not ignore these queries, act on them as soon as possible”.

What are the major SARS submission deadlines for SMEs?

Epstein points out that small business owners need to adhere to various tax deadlines, each with their own particular dates for submission. “It is important that business owners diarise the dates (and set advance reminders for themselves) and/or enlist the services of an accountant or financial adviser to help them keep abreast of requirements.”

Value-added tax (VAT)

VAT payments need to be submitted in the VAT period allocated to the business, according to various categories and ending on the last day of a calendar month. This may mean making payments once a month, once every two months, once every six months or annually, depending on the category.

Provisional taxes

Provisional tax should be submitted at the end of August (first provisional) and at the end of February (second provisional) – for February year-end companies.

Employee taxes

In addition to submitting an annual reconciliation (EMP501) for the period 1 March to end of February for Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), Skills Development Levy (SDL) and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), employee tax, in the form of an EMP201 return, needs to be submitted by the seventh of every month.

When can SMEs get extensions and is it worth it?

Epstein says SMEs can apply for various extensions, but these are subject to the Income Tax Act and Tax Administration Act.

“It is best for SMEs to consult their tax professionals to get advice regarding extensions for their businesses.”

What is SARS not flexible about?

SARS is not flexible when it comes to late returns and late payments.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for SME owners to ensure their tax returns are submitted on time. In this way, they will avoid the inconvenience and expense of additional fines and interest,” notes Epstein.

What skills do SMEs need in their organisations to be able to submit to SARS efficiently?

Business owners often don’t have the time or expertise to deal with tax submissions throughout the year. If the business cannot afford to employ a full-time accountant or financial services expert, it would do well to outsource its tax requirements to a registered tax practitioner.

“I would recommend that even if they are not submitting the tax returns themselves, business owners should have a broad understanding of the tax regulations and what is expected of them. There is a lot of helpful information on the various Acts and tax requirements on SARS’ website,” says Epstein.

How does the right software help SMEs remain SARS compliant?

SME’s (and their accountants’) jobs can be made easier by using reliable accounting software to calculate accurate VAT reports. These reports are only as accurate as the data entered into them, which means care needs to be taken when inputting data into the accounting programme. Epstein says a good accounting software package must be reliable, easy to use and functional.

“SMEs need to check that the software has thorough reporting capabilities and can interface with other software solutions. Of course, it is also important to find out whether the software is locally supported by the vendor or not.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending