Friday, 8 May 2009

More about the Merchandise Marks Act

The recent post about FIFA's 'great victory' made me reread the relevant provisions of the Merchandise Marks Act on which FIFA relies. Two questions:

1 Whatever happened to s 15A(b), which no-one ever quotes?

Here it is:
15A Abuse of trade mark in relation to event
(1) (b) The Minister may not designate an event as a protected event unless the staging of the event is in the public interest and the Minister is satisfied that the organisers have created sufficient opportunities for small businesses and in particular those of the previously disadvantaged communities.
Given the control exercised by FIFA, it is difficult to imagine what opportunities will be created for small businesses.

2 Are the marks used by Eastwood Tavern in fact protected?

A study of General Notice 1791 of 2007 (GG 30595) in which the Minister of Trade and Industry prohibited the use of certain words in terms of s15A at FIFA's request, will show that the words "World Cup 2010", "South Africa 2010" and "Twenty Ten South Africa", which are the words detailed in the consent order in the recent FIFA v Eastwood Tavern litigation are not protected in terms of this notice. The consent order refers to these words as trade marks, but it would be interesting to know whether these marks have proceeded to registration - it is hard to believe that they are viewed as distinctive.

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