Intellectual Property Law / IP Articles

Hey, thatís my trade mark!

Posted 04 December 2017

Tracy Rengecas

In a recent decision the Companies Tribunal ordered Kulula Cash Loans (Pty) Ltd to change its name to one that did not include the registered trade mark KULULA.

The application was filed by Comair Limited, the owner of the trade mark, on the basis that the name was confusingly similar to its trade mark.  In addition it was argued that the name would lead consumers to think that Kulula Cash Loans (Pty) Ltd was associated in some way. 

Similarly Growthpoint Properties Limited was successful in objecting to the registration of Growth Point Property Group (Pty) Ltd. The Companies Tribunal also ordered Eduloan (Pty) Ltd to change its name acknowledging that it would cause confusion and would mislead consumers.  The decision was based on the fact that the applicant Fundi Capital (Pty) Ltd, previously named “Edu-loan” still had residual goodwill in the name Edu-loan and that its subsidiary companies still incorporated the trade mark EDU-LOAN   in their names.

In terms of s 160 of the Companies Act any person with an “interest in the name of a company may object to the Companies Tribunal for a determination whether the company name meets the requirements of the Act”. Such an application may be brought “on good cause shown at any time after the date of registration of the company”.    An application is made by lodging the appropriate form together with a supporting affidavit at CIPC. A copy of the application must be served on the company in question who will have an opportunity to respond. Thereafter the Companies Tribunal will make a decision.