Cell C not worried about its logo trademark being provisionally rejected

The Registrar of Trademarks has provisionally refused the registration of Cell C's new logo. While legal experts point to copyright issues as the cause, Cell C issued a statement, which says the trademark registration is not really an issue.
ITWeb's journalist Leigh-Ann Francis reported on 18 August that Cell C's new logo had been provisionally rejected by the Registrar of Trademarks. Legal experts were pointing to the prevalence of the copyright symbol in the new logo as a possible cause.

According to Cell C's trademark application form, on Cipro's Online IP services, the provisional refusal was made on 2 August. Despite this, the operator rolled out its campaign on 4 August.

However, Cell C said that statements saying "the application for the registration of the new Cell C logo has been provisionally refused by the Registrar" are incorrect. "Our response is that this is highly unlikely as the application would not have been examined yet by the Registrar," says the company.

Most noticeable in the new logo is the replacement of the old red dotted "C" with a new black and white symbol depicting a "C" within a solid black circle - a replica of the legally required copyright symbol.

However, company CEO Lars Reichelt says the new logo reflects Cell C's vision of understanding its customers and tailoring solutions around them. The white space between the black "C" and solid circle is symbolic of the customer.

"There is no significance in the Cell C Logo resembling the copyright symbol. Primarily, the "C" in the centre represents Cell C putting the customer at the centre of everything it does. The logo is not designed to look like the copyright symbol," states Simon Camerer, marketing executive at Cell C.

Reichelt maintains that, on the advice of legal experts, the company has covered any potential legal issues in its 12-month corporate identity turnaround strategy. "In terms of the logo, we have considered all angles and have made applications to register our various new logos and payoff line as trademarks. This process can take up to two years to be finalised," he states.

When questioned recently at a press conference as to how much the entire campaign cost, Reichelt erred on the side of caution saying that it was a lot, but not that much when compared to the R7 billion cost of its new network and IT infrastructure.

He did, however, state that Cell C was spending in excess of R160 million to re-brand its stores with the new corporate logo.

Cell C responds

On Thursday, 20 August, Cell C responded to the article with a statement form the CEO, saying:

"There has been a lot of debate about Cell C's new logo which we welcome. However, it is incorrect to state that Cell C's "logo has been rejected". This is not the case. Cell C's application to register its logo as a trademark has been provisionally refused. The provisional refusal of trademark applications is not uncommon.

As part of the trademark registration process, companies can make representations to the Registrar in response to the reasons for the provisional refusal.

The statement goes on to say: "Prior to revealing the new logo, Cell C took legal advice from experts in the trademark field and followed all the relevant procedures in order to apply for the registration of the trademark... In addition, even if an applicant does not ultimately succeed in registering a mark or logo as a trademark this does not stop the applicant from continuing to use the mark or logo."

Full story on ITWeb:

Cell C's full response

23 Aug 2010 10:51


Is this not another part of the gimmickery of this non campaign?-
As a result of having nothing to say, Cell C has had no option but to resort to gimmickery to get our attention. The new logo is a poor one that looks like it was designed as a Matric project, but I wouldn't be surprised to discover that this 'rejection' isn't another twist in the Cell C effort to get talked about. Frankly my dear, I don't give . . .
Posted on 23 Aug 2010 16:18
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