The department of sport and recreation’s claim that they own the rights to the Springbok emblem is false.
Owen Dean, trademark specialist at legal firm Spoor & Fisher, confirmed that it is the property of the South African Rugby Union (Saru). This contradicts the minister of sport Makhenkesi Stofile’s claim that it is the property of the government.
Beeld reports that Dean investigated trademark registration numbers supplied by the department and found them to be invalid.
“I can give you the registration numbers,” Stofile said at the time. “We own the emblem. It was registered for the small Bok, the big Bok, the Bok jumping to the right, the Bok jumping to the left …”
Deans, however, said all five registration numbers supplied by the government were invalid. Deans found that Saru had registered the emblem first, and explained that Saru would be able to declare it invalid at any time, had government registered it correctly.
The registrations had also expired because the department had neglected to pay renewal fees.
Stofile’s spokesperson Lerato Mogorosi maintains that government owns the emblem, insisting that Stofile had repeatedly tried to clarify the “misperception” about the emblem’s true ownership.