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Entities barred from using Google and Mandela names

Publish date: 13 May 2024
Issue Number: 1076
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Trademark

The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) and Google have succeeded in fighting off entities abusing the names of the late global icon and the multinational company valued at $2trn. The Sunday Tribune reports that Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s Companies Tribunal earlier this month ruled in favour of both the NMF and Google over the use of the name of the former President and Google by two separate registered entities. According to the tribunal ruling last week, non-profit company Fitbit Foundation has 60 days to file a notice of an amendment of its memorandum of incorporation to change its name. The NMF’s trustees also succeeded in stopping the use of the post-1994 SA President’s name by another non-profit company named Ban Mandela Frigate. ‘It can therefore also be concluded that the word “Mandela” in the first respondent’s (Ban Mandela Frigate’s) name will reasonably mislead the reasonable person to believe incorrectly that there is an association with the applicant’s “Nelson Mandela” and “Mandela” trademarks,’ another tribunal member, Joshua Kadish, ruled on 7 April.

Full Sunday Tribune report

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