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Southern Sun gets interdict against Namibian 'copycat' hotel

May 30 2018 13:07

The Namibian High Court recently issued a decision dealing with passing-off and copyright infringement in an application brought by Southern Sun Africa and Southern Sun Hotel Interests against Sun Square Hotel.
 
The applicants form part of the South African hotel and entertainment group Tsogo Sun.

Southern Sun Africa, based in Mauritius, is the proprietor of trade mark registrations for the Sun Square logo trade mark in South Africa. Southern Sun Hotel Interests owns the copyright in the Sun Square logo, as an original artistic work.

The Sun Square logo has been used in SA under licence from Southern Sun Africa for many years in relation to hotel and related services, according to Kareema Shaik, a senior associate at law firm Adams & Adams.

She said in mid-2015, the applicants became aware that the respondent, Sun Square Hotel, was operating a hotel in Namibia, under the name Sun Square, using an identical logo on its hotel signage, branding and guest amenities.
 
Southern Sun Africa, therefore, wanted to restrain the respondent’s unauthorised use of the Sun Square word and logo marks, while Southern Sun Hotel Interests alleged the respondent had infringed the copyright in the Sun Square logo.

Southern Sun Africa does not operate a Sun Square hotel in Namibia, but it argued that it had established a reputation in the trade mark in the country through cross-border trade and spill-over advertising.

Evidence of use of the mark in South Africa was submitted and the court accepted that such evidence was sufficient to prove knowledge of the mark amongst a substantial number of people in the relevant sector in Namibia, according to Shaik. The court also found that Southern Sun Hotel Interests had established copyright in the Sun Square logo.
 
The court found that the respondent’s unauthorised use of the Sun Square word and logo marks amounted to "passing-off" which, the court stated resulted, or was calculated to result, “in the improper filching of the first applicant’s trade mark, an improper infringement of its goodwill and may cause injury to the first applicant’s trade reputation”.
 
The court consequently granted an interdict restraining the respondent from passing itself off as the Southern Sun Africa. An interdict for copyright infringement was also granted and Southern Sun Hotel Interests was awarded reasonable royalties and additional damages.
 
The respondent has filed an appeal against the decision.

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tsogo sun  |  namibia  |  hotels  |  travel and leisure  |  copyright  |  tourism
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