Cen­tury City no trade­mark

Court rules that own­ers do not have exclusive rights to name

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE - HE­LEN BAM­FORD

THE CEN­TURY City Prop­erty Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion has lost the exclusive rights to the name “Cen­tury City”, the Supreme Court of Ap­peal in Bloem­fontein has ruled.

The as­so­ci­a­tion, which de­scribes it­self on its web­site as a “mini-mu­nic­i­pal­ity”, has been send­ing let­ters to a num­ber of small busi­nesses op­er­at­ing from Cen­tury City, or­der­ing them to re­move “Cen­tury City” from their names. One of them, Cen­tury City Apart­ment Prop­erty Ser­vices CC, a busi­ness which leases out lux­ury hol­i­day apart­ments in Cen­tury City, de­cided to take them on – and won.

At­tor­ney Suzaan Laing of Adams and Adams, for Cen­tury City Apart­ments, said that in most cases the busi­nesses had com­plied when they were “bul­lied” by the as­so­ci­a­tion.

Laing said that when her client re­ceived a let­ter of de­mand, they de­cided to de­fend it.

The com­pany, run by Pa­trick and Zeena Mur­phy, was taken to court a year ago by the as­so­ci­a­tion on the ba­sis of trade­mark in­fringe­ment. Their main de­fence against the claim was that Cen- tury City had be­come a place name that was rea­son­ably re­quired for use in trade to in­di­cate the ori­gin of busi­ness ser­vices, and could not as such be a trade­mark sub­ject to the exclusive rights of a sin­gle en­tity.

“We first lost the case in the Cape High Court af­ter Judge Den­nis Davis ruled against us, but he gave us leave to ap­peal,” Laing said.

Mama Taxi

The Supreme Court ruled that the trade­mark, “Cen­tury City”, had be­come a place name and was or­dered to be re­moved from the trade­marks reg­is­ter. Laing said it was a sec­tion 21 com­pany and that all prop­erty own­ers in the com­plex au­to­mat­i­cally be­come mem­bers of the Cen­tury City Prop­erty Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion.

The as­so­ci­a­tion was or­dered by the court to pay the costs.


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