13 December, 2018
Unauthorised use of ITC-SA logo strongly discouraged
It has come to the attention of the Institute
for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA), South Africa's professional body
for the engineered timber construction sector, that its trademark and logo have
been used inappropriately by a handful of unscrupulous contractors in the
industry who are advertising to the general public their purported association
with the Institute.
ITC-SA is the registered proprietor of, amongst
others, trademark no. 2006/14222 ITC SA in class 37 in respect of, inter alia, ‘Construction; installation; development, maintenance and repair
services; information services relating to the aforegoing including in relation
to construction, installation and fitment of timber and roofing trusses;
services ancillary and related to the aforegoing in class 37'.
Apart from the various trademarks which the
ITC-SA owns, it has also made extensive use of these for many years and, as
such, substantial reputation and goodwill are attached to these trademarks,
which are afforded special protection by the Trade Marks Act.
According to Amanda Obbes, ITC-SA General
Manager, "Advertising a business as being a member of
the Institute, creating the false perception of association with or endorsement
by the ITC-SA is not only potentially damaging to the reputation of the ITC-SA,
its stakeholders and the industry, but puts consumers, many of whom prefer to
enlist the services of ITC-SA accredited contractors, at risk through knowingly
does the ITC-SA protect the consumer?
A professional body like
the ITC-SA has the intent to protect the public interest in relation to the
services provided by its members and the associated risks. Recognised and
accredited professional bodies like the ITC-SA are mandated to develop, award,
monitor and revoke its professional designations in terms of its own rules,
legislation and/or international conventions.
The role of the ITC-SA is to ensure consumer protection in the use of timber
engineered products in contracts entered into with the ITC-SA membership and to
regulate the professional conduct of its members. Where prima facie evidence confirms
professional misconduct, in order to protect the consumer and the reputation of
the industry, the ITC-SA will apply proper sanctions. Conversely, enlisting the
services of a contractor who is not a member of the ITC-SA will waive this
‘safety net' and the consumer will have to pursue remedial or legal action at
their own expense.
Individuals or entities who are not members of the ITC-SA, but who claim
to be, are urged to desist in using all infringing trademarks, being the ITC-SA
trade mark, and/or any confusingly similar marks in relation to their business.
This includes the use of the aforementioned trademarks on invoices, webpages, websites
and any advertisements which may deceive the general public in relation to the
individual's or entity's association with the ITC-SA. Failure or neglect to
comply with the above may result in legal proceedings taken up on an urgent
basis for an interdict restraining such use, damages as well as any other form
of ancillary relief, the costs of which will be for the account of the
"By virtue of its trade mark
registration, the ITC-SA and its members are entitled to the exclusive use of
this mark in relation to the services covered by such registration. Any
unauthorised use of the mark ITC SA (or any name confusingly similar thereto)
in relation to those services, or similar goods or services, constitutes
infringement of these trade mark rights and/or constitutes common law
passing-off," says Obbes.
"The role of the ITC-SA is to ensure consumer
protection in the use of timber engineered products in contracts entered into
with the ITC-SA membership and to regulate the professional conduct of its
members for a better industry overall. As such, the general public and the
trade are encouraged to check in with the ITC-SA timeously and before any
project is initiated to verify the membership status of their chosen contractor
before any formal work commences, as a preliminary safeguard and for peace of
mind," she concludes.
For more information about the ITC-SA, visit www.itc-sa.org. To
find a list of ITC-SA accredited members near you, select a designation from
the drop-down ‘Members' list and complete your search. For more information on
becoming a member, click on your designation of choice on this list and read
the designation descriptor relevant to you. Feel free to get in touch with the
ITC-SA should you need any assistance.