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Beware of Copyright and Trademark

As a business owner, and especially as an entrepreneur, one often doesn’t have time to think of legal concepts like trademarks and copyright. There are usually matters that seem far more pressing, like sales targets and stock control. However, ignoring these legal concepts can be a costly and damaging lesson for your business, as recent events have shown. The Jungle Foodie Deli in Observatory was recently forced to change its name after correspondence from Tiger Brands, the owner of the “Jungle Oats” brand and associated trademark.

A trademark is a name, sign, symbol or expression which identifies and distinguishes a product or service as being from a particular source. Trademark infringement is an imitation of one of these, which is likely to confuse consumers into believing that the products or services of one trader are those of another.

While the deli’s choice of name might arguably not have amounted to a trademark infringement, it nonetheless suffered the consequences of having to change its trading name. Imagine the damage to your business’s goodwill after trading under a certain name for years or even decades, and then having to change that name! That’s why it’s important to do thorough research when choosing names and designs of products, and to trademark these designs, to ensure that your chosen name is available, and to avoid unnecessary legal costs.

Every business needs a logo, name, slogan and graphic content. So what should you do to stay clear of a copyright lawsuit?

If you’re just establishing a business or product, you need to choose a name, logo, slogan and trademark that doesn’t infringe on those of other businesses. Ask an experienced intellectual property attorney to assist you with trademark and copyright searches. You’ll also need to apply for trademark protection for your new mark, which we can assist with as well.

Graphic media is an essential part of the marketing and online presence of companies, and your company needs to take care not to infringe on copyrights held by others. It is a common misperception that there is no harm in using images found online in one’s advert or blog post, but doing so could be infringing the copyright of the owner of the work, with costly consequences for your company.

If you’re unsure of the potential consequences of the use of images, videos and documents in your company’s operations, Maybery Inc. intellectual property attorneys can advise you.

Maybery Inc. provides trademark registration and other intellectual property services to businesses. To find out more, contact us at or (012) 004 1296.

Please note that this article represents a brief summary of trademark law, and is therefore meant for informative purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For full legal advice on your commercial matter, please contact us to arrange a consultation.


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