Nelson Mandela Foundation stops company from using icon’s name
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THE Nelson Mandela Foundation has successfully stopped another entity from using the late former president’s name as it would cause confusion and deceive the public.
The Nelson Mandela Awards has been ordered by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s (CIPC’s) Companies Tribunal to change its name to one which does not incorporate the global icon’s name or any other word confusingly and or deceptively similar to his foundation’s trademarks.
According to the ruling handed down on Monday by tribunal member Lucia Glass, the Registrar of Companies has also been directed to change the Nelson Mandela Awards’ name to its registration number in the event that it fails to comply with the ruling within 60 days of the order.
Any person with an interest in the name, Nelson Mandela Awards, has 20 days after receiving the notice of Glass’s determination and administrative order to apply to a court to review the decision.
”If the name Nelson Mandela Awards, is to be used by the respondent (Nelson Mandela Awards), and Nelson Mandela is to be used by the Applicant (the foundation), in a normal and fair manner and in an ordinary course business, it is my view, that if members of the public merely look at the names of the different entities, they will be misled by the similarity of the names,” she stated in her determination.
She added the public will also be confused or deceived into believing the foundation’s business is linked to or associated with that of the applicant’s trademarks, as falsely imply or suggest, and are such as would reasonably mislead a person to believe incorrectly, that the Nelson Mandela Awards are part of, or associated with the foundation.
The Nelson Mandela Awards were registered in 2019 while the foundation’s trademarks were registered in 2004.
Sello Hatang, the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s chief executive since June 2013, acted on its behalf as he knows and is familiar with all its business and trademarks.
The Nelson Mandela Awards did not file a responding affidavit and the tribunal found the entity did not deem it necessary to defend the foundation’s application.