Tuesday, 4 June 2013

RSA's TM Registry - shackled

With assistance from the excellent Katherine Harding, Afro Leo embarked on an exercise to analyse trade mark decisions of the South African Registry over the last two years with a view to determining how the tests are being applied by the Registry, trends and other useful information that can be gleaned from such an endeavour. The piece has kindly been published by peer reviewed Oxford University Press: Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (edited by Jeremy) and can be located here (HTML) and here (PDF).
And I must catch a mouse?!

The RSA Registry is in a difficult place. They are succeeding at increasing examination rates, making decisions accessible, becoming more service orientated etc but there are structural problems beyond their control.

At the beginning of this year, 92 cases were ready for a decision. The Registry has one (sometimes two) hearing officers to deal with this task. Oppositions and cancellations are both procedurally and substantively complicated (unduly so from my point of view - see here and here) meaning that the Registry needs experienced officers/judges to step into the breach. As a result, the Registry has sought assistance from the High Court but apparently to no avail, as they too are over burdened. At the rate of decision making it will take until 2018 just to clear the back log.

Can anyone help?


Jeremy Speres said...

Congratulations on an excellent piece Darren, Katherine. The best practice guidelines are most useful!

Afro Leo said...

Thanks very much Jeremy!