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Must I trademark my company name?

When registering a company name, CIPC doesn't give you many options. Result: few company names are exceptional brands, never mind memorable. For example, Amalgamated Beverage Industries Ltd is the company that makes COKE ‐ Few can pick out ABI in a two‐man line‐up; everyone knows and loves Coke. It is not worth filing a trademark for ABI, but the COKE trademark is worth Billions.

Your company name need not be the same as your brand, and no‐one really cares that they're different … until you become listed on the JSE. But that should nevertheless be a happy, carefree day.

So, don't get too concerned about your company's name. Choose any company name that's suitable, even if it is very "generic" (e.g. Johannesburg Clothing Company (Pty) Ltd). But, definitely coin a great BRAND and LOGO, and trademark register the brand and logo in the classes you intend to trade. This will give you the space you need in the market to grow your branded new business.

Tip: Ensure that the domain name is available for your new brand. If your market is South Africa, don't worry about a .COM domain ‐ it does not rank well in South Africa; and is unlikely to be available. Rather go for a .CO.ZA domain ‐ it has a better Google ranking in South Africa and should be available for only a couple of hundred Rands.

Take us, for example, our brand is IPTICA, but our company's name is GLOBAL IP & CONSULTING. IPTICA is a .COM domain, as most of our customers are expected to hail from all four corners of the world (and not from any specific country); whereas our South African Trademark website is a CO.ZA domain, as you are likely a South African.

SA Trademark Company

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