"Sky™ is the limit," demands kulula legal team

Jo'burg - Low fare airline kulula.com has recently undergone an extensive process to trademark the Sky™, and today announced that authorisation of this trademark has been granted. The move comes following widespread unauthorised use of images of the Sky™, kulula's primary place of business. With usage of the Sky™ in South African marketing valued at over R2-billion, the widespread usage of the Sky™ has a substantial business impact on the brand value of companies that operate in it, such as kulula.

The company will be undertaking a communications programme with advertisers and media owners and major sporting event organisers to educate them on what would constitute a breach of the trademark and what is reasonable usage.

"South African advertisers have for too long assumed that because of our fun irreverent brand, we're not serious about protecting our substantial assets. kulula's trademark is defined by its operating space and so the rules apply to images or reference to the Sky™ between 10 000 and 35 000 feet above sea level. Any images of the Sky™ between these two distances are not permitted to appear in any media or marketing and special permission to use Sky™ will need to be applied for," comments Heidi Brauer, Comair's Executive Manager for Group Marketing.

"The trademark also covers words or visuals that are synonymous with the word Sky™ or directly make reference to it at any height. However, images of the Sky™, Clouds™ or Rain™ as a secondary in marketing materials will be permitted provided that the section of the SkyTM represented is below or above the restricted air-space," said Mr Habeeb Majut, senior partner at Majut and Sons.

"Whilst protecting our brand we recognise that we have to be responsible and reasonable in our use of trademarks. Any use of Sky™, Air™ or Oxygen™ under 10 000 feet is perfectly acceptable. We have to leave room for marketers and media to breathe after all, as long as this doesn't cost us money through erosion of our brand," Brauer added.

The trademark rules take effect immediately and media who wish to publish images (for example during sporting events) or words referring to the Sky™ in the near future will need to apply for authorisation without delay, as clearance is estimated to take a minimum of ninety days to process.