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Global trademark registration, externalisation and...

image rights specialists




What we do

As part of a joint South African and Irish initiative, we provide confidential advice and support to South African brands, sports stars and celebrities on how to structure their intellectual property, to protect it and to minimise taxation on royalty income.

Why externalise intellectual property?

It’s sage to protect your rights to your own name, images and brand. Intellectual property (IP) is intangible and can be housed and protected through a trademark in any country. However, the country you choose will affect your level of protection, tax liabilities and potential access to business funding. For South Africans, externalising intellectual property can have significant advantages.

The Madrid Protocol is the largest global trademark protocol and provides reciprocal protection in over 90 member states, including the United States, the European Union and most other countries in the developed world.

South Africa is not a member of the Madrid Protocol. It has high taxation and offers little in the way of fiscal incentives, support or funding for the commercialisation of intellectual property. Also, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) specifically pierces the veil of locally registered image rights structures for locally domiciled sports stars and celebrities. This makes externalizing intellectual property in a friendly fiscal jurisdiction a smart choice.

South Africa’s exchange controls, which further restrict the export of locally registered intellectual property, and its soft currency mean that it’s not an attractive jurisdiction for global investors.

Why Ireland?

Ireland – the Emerald Isle – is the prefered global domicile of many of the world’s leading brands, celebrities and sports stars among them Christiano Ronaldo, Joes Mourinho and Paul Poba. Leading corporations include Amazon, Apple, Dell, Facebook, General Electric, Google, GSK, Microsoft, Pfizer, Starbucks and Uber… Why?

Ireland has these advantages:

  • a gateway to markets in the European Union, United States and the United Kingdom
  • a member of the Madrid Protocol and EUIPO, providing reciprocal protection in all member countries via one trademark filing; this is significantly cheaper than filing in each country
  • ZERO tax on royalty income, a 12.5% company tax rate, no dividends tax and numerous breaks for global start-ups, including a three-year tax holiday
  • double taxation agreements with most Madrid Protocol members and with South Africa and Mauritius
  • English speaking and in the same time zone as South Africa
  • a highly skilled and comparatively inexpensive workforce, helping ensure that your brand is in good hands
  • access to ample EU funding for brand R&D and US trade incentives, which we facilitate on behalf of South African agents and clients.

Unlike certain other, so-called tax havens, Ireland has a strong economy and provides commercial purpose for legitimate, lucrative hedging of South African intellectual property royalties.

First steps for protecting your intellectual property

Legitimately externalising intellectual property requires real commercial purpose, beyond just having a postbox in a tax haven.

If possible, the first port of registration should be a Madrid Protocol member country. If a trademark is registered first in South Africa, stringent exchange controls and taxes apply and it will be necessary to engage both SARS and SARB in a valuation and transfer pricing quagmire.

The sooner you can protect your intellectual property through expert externalisation, the better!

Why EmeraldSA?

Our founder is a dual Irish/South African national with over 20 years of experience in intellectual property, international trade and offshoring.

He was awarded a certificate of merit for outstanding work in intellectual property by the University of Witwatersrand in 1993.

We represent numerous global brands and have a strong network of agents in South Africa, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Mauritius.

Call us

To schedule a consultation, supply your details by completing the form below – or, if you choose, nominate an entrepreneur or sports prodigy you’d like us to consider sponsoring with the above-mentioned services.