Professional Provident Society of South Africa v P.P.I. Makelaars and another
 2 All SA 206 (W)
Witwatersrand Local Division
20 December 1995
RL Selvan SC and EM Patel
. Editor's Summary . Cases Referred to . Judgment .
Civil procedure Jurisdiction Interpretation of section 1(1) of the Trade Marks Act 194 of 1993 Divisions of the
Supreme Court other than the Transvaal Provincial
Page 207 of  2 All SA 206 (W)
Division have jurisdiction to hear infringement matters subject to one or more traditional grounds of jurisdiction being
Trade marks Infringement of Jurisdiction of Supreme Court to hear disputes Interpretation of section 1(1) of the
Trade Marks Act 194 of 1993 Supreme Court divisions other than the Transvaal Provincial Division have jurisdiction to
hear infringement matters subject to one or more traditional grounds of jurisdiction being present.
The Applicant was a society of professional bodies and provided life assurance and medical aid to its members.
There were many authorised independent agents who marketed the Applicant's product. The Respondent was a
shortterm insurance broker. The Respondent used a trade mark which very closely resembled that of the Applicant.
Correspondence between the parties resulted in the Respondent redesigning the logo. The Applicant contended
that the new logo still resembled its trade mark and sought an interdict preventing the Respondent from infringing
its rights in respect of its registered trade mark and restraining the Respondent from passingoff its services as
those of the Applicant. The issue before the Court was whether the Respondent's new logo was likely to deceive or
The Respondent also raised a preliminary point that the Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter as
section 1(1) of the Trade Marks Act 194 of 1993 granted exclusive jurisdiction to the Transvaal Provincial Division to
hear infringement matters; the Respondent argued that all other divisions of the Supreme Court could only hear
matters relating to the removal, amendment or variation of registered trade marks or any other relief affecting any
entry in the register.
Held Applying the presumption that the legislature did not intend absurdities as well as the presumption against
an interpretation that would oust the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the Court rejected the Respondent's
argument with regard to jurisdiction. The Court considered the relevant provisions of the Trade Marks Act and
summarised the legal position as follows: (a) any division of the Supreme Court had jurisdiction to hear an
infringement action, subject to one or more of the traditional grounds of jurisdiction being present; (b) the
Transvaal Provincial Division had exclusive jurisdiction in respect of the matters mentioned in sections 53 a n d 57
notwithstanding an infringement action in some other division; (c) if matters mentioned in sections 16(5), 24, 26
and 27 were brought as independent applications, the Transvaal Provincial Division had exclusive jurisdiction; and
(d) if matters mentioned in section 16(5), 24, 26 a n d 27 arose in infringement proceedings, the court having
jurisdiction to hear the infringement action had concurrent jurisdiction with the Transvaal Provincial Division.
In the instant case, the parties were resident within the jurisdiction of the Court and the alleged infringement
had also occurred within its jurisdiction. The Court accordingly held that it had jurisdiction to hear the matter and
the Respondent's preliminary objection was dismissed.
On the facts of the case, the Court held that the Respondent's logo would cause deception and confusion, and
granted the interdict with costs including the costs of employing two counsel.
For Jurisdiction, see LAWSA (Vol 11, paragraphs 392545)
Page 208 of  2 All SA 206 (W)
For Trade Marks, see LAWSA (Vol 29)
For the Trade Marks Act 194 of 1993, see Butterworths Statutes of South Africa 1996 (Vol 1)
Cases referred to in judgment
De Wet v Deetleefs 1928 AD 286
PlasconEvans Paints v Van Riebeeck Paints 1984 (3) SA 623 (A)