In part 2 in our series on registering your stage name as a trademark, we looked at searching for already existing trademarks to determine if the name you want to register is still available. Once you are satisfied that the name is yours for the taking, it’s time to move onto the next step to apply for a trademark. Please familiarise yourself with the content of part 1 and part 2 of the Trademark your stage name series before you proceed.
Apply for a trademark
I’m going to explain the process to apply for a trademark online on the CPIC IP Portal in South Africa (picking up from part 2 in the series). To do so, hover over the Trade Mark tab at the top of the site and click on Apply for Trade Mark. There may be some legal notices. Read them if you want (you probably should), but afterwards, click Proceed.
Once you are through, the first question it will ask you is what type of trademark you would like to register. There are two to choose from, Single mark and Series marks. A single mark allows you to register one trademark in one class, whereas series marks allow you to register a few trademarks (up to 15). Seeing as there are two relevant class fields to musicians, you could go for Series marks, and select two classes. Take note that this will incur more fees. As for trademark nature, keep it as its default O – Ordinary. The other class types aren’t relevant for you for the purposes of this article, so there is no point in discussing them. You can make the Client reference anything you want, it’s a reference for you.
You then need to fill in your applicant details. It’s pretty straight forward so I have posted a picture of what the final result should look like. Don’t worry about the GPA number. Once your details are in, click next.
The next page deals with the actual trademark itself. You can either select a Verbal mark or an Image mark. A Verbal mark (or ‘word mark’ as it’s more commonly known) is a trademark consisting of words. It protects the actual name of the trademark and not how it looks stylistically. Most bands may want to start with this, but it’s up to you. Many register their logos too. In the Representation area, put the words that you want to trademark, like your band or artist name.
Case sensitive. It doesn’t make much of a difference. If you prefer all caps, then go for it. The next important one is to select the correct class. Remember, you can’t apply for a trademark in every class, so stick to the relevant ones to you. As soon as you choose the class, the Goods and Services box will be automatically populated with the relevant information pertaining to that class. You’re done!
Don’t worry about the other fields, they are not relevant to you now. Once you are done, click Add to Series (if you opted for the series option), and then do the same process you did before for the other class. In the final tab, you should see two registrations for the two different classes.
Once done, you can submit it. There will be some T&Cs for you to read and at the bottom, it will tell you how much you must pay. If you are happy with that, then click proceed. You will then see a screen telling you that your application was submitted. I changed certain details towards the end, as I can’t actually register The Fruit Vendor. Josh (whose interview you may have read on Muzoplanet), already has dibs on that one.
Make sure you have money in your account. On your CIPC account profile, there will be an option to deposit funds into your account. It’s not difficult to find. Well done, you have just applied for your trademark. You will get an email from a member at the CIPC soon after you submit explaining the next steps. Trademark registrations take time, so you won’t have the trademark rights immediately, but only a few months later (it’s a long process).
Your application will be vetted by the Trade Marks Registry to ensure you may actually register that trademark. If they have any objections, they will notify you and will let you know under what conditions they may be willing to accept your application. After that is done, there is an advertising period in which your trademark will be advertised so that anyone who has an objection to it, can say so.
Unfortunately, this can all take a long time, easily over a year, but it’s worth doing the hassle now otherwise all the cool names may be taken. Besides, once you get a trademark, it can last forever, provided you keep paying your maintenance fees every 10 years.
Now you know how to apply for a trademark in South Africa.
*All images and links provided are accurate at the time I wrote the article. I cannot guarantee that the CIPC won’t change its website from time to time.