Protection of indigenous product names

Members of the public are called to review and comment on various names being proposed by the EU for protection in South Africa.

Members of the public have 30 days from 4 February 2014 to submit comments and inputs on the Government Gazette Notice No. 66 and 67 (Gazette number 37296). The Gazette contains a list of proposed names of agricultural products and beers from the European Union. The notice proposes the use of these names be prohibited based on the attached rules of use. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies invites all stakeholders to review the list of names and rules of use published in the proposed prohibition notice.

South Africa is currently negotiating a protocol with the EU for the protection of various names which will allow for the reciprocal protection of names of South African and European agricultural products, wines and spirits in the respective territories. He added that in order for South African names to be protected in the EU, it is required that they first be protected in South Africa. Various South African names are now protected under the Merchandise Marks Act 17 of 1941, including ROOIBOS and HONEYBUSH, whilst KAROO LAMB has been published for public comment

According to Minister Davies, a similar process will now start for the domestic protection of EU names under the Merchandise Marks Act 17 of 1941. To this end a notice for a proposed prohibition was published in the Government Gazette on 4 February 2014 (Notices 66 and 67 of 2014), detailing the list of names which the EU has requested South Africa to protect.

This notice is subject to a mandatory period of comment, and any interested party may submit comments or objections in respect of the proposed list of names to be protected to the address details as stipulated in the published notice. If these names are protected, it will be in conjunction with specific rules of use.

Minister Davies reiterates that the protection will be given without prejudice to prior marks held or used by anyone under statute or common law.

He further emphasised that the final list of names which will be protected will only be determined following the mandatory comment period, and will be dependent on final approval by the Minister of the dti.

All interested parties are to send their commends to the Registrar of Trademarks at the following email address:

The links to the rules of use, as well as the notice as published, can be found on the dti website at

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