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SA Rugby owns Springbok emblem : Legal expert

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The South African Rugby Union (SARU) owns the Springbok emblem and not the South African government, says Dr Owen Dean, partner at intellectual property legal firm Spoor & Fisher.


The firm has instituted an investigation and have found that SA Rugby is the registered owner of the trademark.


Sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile had earlier told the Sports Portfolio Committee that SA Rugby owed it royalties for the use of the Springbok emblem which his department owned.


Stofile maintains SA Rugby have been using the emblem illegally as they have neglected the renewal of its registration. Spoor and Fisher refute this.


“We have checked the Register of Trademarks, and Saru is the current owner of the trademark,” says Dean.


“The South African Rugby Football Union (Sarfu) registered the trademark in 1996.


Sarfu is now defunct, but one of the two bodies it spawned, Saru and SA Rugby (Pty) Ltd, owns the trademark. We cannot determine which one it is. This trademark was renewed in 2005, and is valid until 2016.


Accordingly, says Dean, he cannot see what rights the South African government has to claim the Springbok emblem as its own, “as prima facie evidence supports Saru’s contention that the Springbok emblem belongs to it.”


Sapa – Rugbyweek.com

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