Wednesday, 5 November 2008

semper aliquid novus!

Even in trade-mark matters, we do it differently in Africa. The political flurries of the past week in South Africa held the prospect of a trade-mark battle of epic proportions, for nothing less than the ANC (African National Congress), or at least its acronym. The ANC breakaway party was allegedly intending to call itself the SANC (South African National Convention), and this provoked urgent proceedings to interdict use of this name, on the day before the conference at which the new party was to be formed. According to the South African Sunday Times of 2 November 2008, the founding affidavit of ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe alleged that the proposed name would ‘confuse or deceive the public’, including donors and potential donors, into thinking that the new party was connected with the ANC. He stated that this amounted to trademark infringement, and that ‘their conduct is likely to take unfair advantage of the distinctive character and reputation of the trademarks. It will create a chaotic and disrupted situation’.
The matter was postponed for a week to allow the Independent Electoral Commission to be joined in the proceedings. But next day, at the conference, the new party’s name was announced as Sadec (South African Democratic Congress) and the prospects of a good trade-mark fight appeared remote.
However, hope arrived on Monday in the form of Sadeco (also South African National Congress), a splinter party of (Nadeco), the National Democratic Convention, both of whom have already registered their names with the IEC. This party has apparently refused to allow the breakaway party to adopt their name.
For the breakaways to be third time lucky in their choice of a new name, it might be a good idea to stay away from the terms ‘African’ National’ and ‘Democratic’!
Fortunately for the South African Nurses Council (SANC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC or Sadec) and the South African Disability Empowerment Company (Sadeco), the principle of specificity still reigns in trade-mark law.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it's "semper aliquid novum" -- aliquid is neuter and the adjective should agree with it.

Great blog. Keep up the good work.