The use of the flag in manufactured products is subject to the approval of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti). Faan Wolvaardt, director Intellectual Property at Bowman Gilfillan explains: “It will not be possible to register, or protect, packaging or a mark that contains the national flag. As such, it will not be possible to stop copying”.
If you are going to use the flag as a mark, be sure that you understand the rules
- The national flag must at all times be treated with dignity and respect
- Under section 22 of the Heraldry Act misuse of the national flag without written permission, using for gain, selling or trading in the heraldic representation of the national flag could lead to civil actions and criminal prosecution
- Approval for use may be obtained from the State Herald, which falls under the Department of Arts and Culture. According to section 3(2) of this Act, the Bureau receives and examines applications for the registration or deletion of heraldic representations, names, special names or uniforms, and issue certificates of registration. The Bureau of Heraldry is obliged to give advice as far as possible, regarding heraldic representations, names, special names and uniforms
- Section 14(1B) of the Merchandise Marks Act prohibits use of a mark or trade mark which consists or contains any state emblem in connection with trade, business etc. Approval for such use may be obtained from the Minister of Trade and Industry
Proudly South African membership
“Despite these prohibitions there is widespread commercial use of the flag”, says Wolvaart. “Be careful that use of the flag will not be confused with the marks of the Proudly South Africa Campaign”, Wolvaart advises. Proudly South African is the “buy local” campaign launched in 2001 by government, organised business, organised labour and community organisations.
Membership might be useful in launching your product as it is not restricted to a particular type of business or organisation. Any company or institution, whether it renders a professional service or is a manufacturing business; a public entity, sports body, school, tertiary institution, government department, municipality, NGO, town or city or even an individual, may be eligible to join the Campaign, provided that they support the Campaign’s overall aims and objectives and meet the Campaign’s membership criteria.
For more information
Contact Cipc (Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office) for guidance and advice.
Go to http://www.trademarksearch.co.za/index.php?page=tclassheading for a full list.