Account Holders and Mark Holders

An Account Holder is the person that is registered to use the MVS. The Account Holder may be an agent acting on behalf of their client and will manage and upload all their client's marks for validation. All costs are incurred by the Account Holder, and communication is done with both Account and Mark Holder.

A Mark Holder is the company/entity/individual who has claim over a mark. A Mark Holder will approach their/an Account Holder and provide all the required documentation for the validation of their marks.

In the event that a Mark Holder does not have an agent (Account Holder), the Mark Holder may act as both Account and Mark Holder through the MVS.


Submission Process and Requirements

The Submission process is outlined by the diagram below.

Step 1: Mark Holder Information
Provide the Mark Holder information. This information pertains to the rightful owner of the mark that is being captured into the system for validation purposes.

Step 2: Mark Information
Provide the Mark information. This information pertains to the Mark itself. A Mark specification must be selected as well as all required documentary evidence provided. Required documents and templates that must be completed by the Mark Holder may be obtained here

Step 3: String Matches and Variants

Select the Matching Strings from the available string provided by the MVS. Selected strings will yield an SMD file after successful validation. The SMD file may be used to successfully apply for the domain name during the ZACR TLD Sunrise Period.

Provide any additional Variants that you would like the MVS to watch for. Variants will form part of the MVS Watch Services, effectively alerting the Account Holder and Mark Holder in the event that a Variant name has been registered as a domain name in the ZACR TLDs.

Step 4: Checkout

Once a Mark has been successfully uploaded and all the correct information has been provided from the previous steps, proceed to the Checkout Process in order to pay for the mark Validation. When Paid, the mark will be validated by the MVS Validators.


Required Documents

To make the process simple, it is recommended that Mark Holders gather the following documents prior to the submission of their marks for validation. All document templates may be downloaded here .

     Registered Trademarks

  • Copy of Trademark Certificate of Registration
  • Signed License Declaration (If Required)
  • Signed Declaration of Use of Marks
  • Proof of Use

     Company and Trust Marks

  • Copy of Company Registration Document or Copy of Trust Deed
  • Signed License Declaration (If Required)
  • Signed Declaration of Use of Marks
  • Proof of Use

     Court Validated Marks

  • Copy of Court Approval for Mark
  • Signed License Declaration (If Required)
  • Signed Declaration of Use of Marks
  • Proof of Use

     Marks Protected Under Statute or Treaty

  • Copy of Source Statute
  • Signed License Declaration (If Required)
  • Signed Declaration of Use of Marks
  • Proof of Use

     Unregistered Marks

  • Signed License Declaration (If Required)
  • Signed Declaration of Use of Unregistered/Common Law Marks
  • 2 Samples of Proof of Use


Evidence of Use

Evidence of use consists of 2 required documents:

  • A signed "Declaration of Use" or "Declaration of Use for Unregistered/Common Law Marks" document

  • Sample proof of use

A sample of proof of use must be submitted in a document as a URL Link or photographic submission. The digital proof of use can be one of the following:

  • Advertising and marketing materials

  • Brochures, pamphlets, catalogs

  • Product manuals, displays or signage, press releases

  • Screen shots or social media marketing materials


Changes To Marks

Marks that have been uploaded to the MVS may only be amended if they have not yet Validated. This means that any uploaded mark with a status of "Incomplete", "Unpaid" or "Pending Validation" may be amended.

All changes must be performed by the Account Holder or associated authorised Secondary User. To do this, the mark must be accessed through the My Portfolio section, then by clicking the "Edit Mark" button. The MVS will perform validation to ensure that all fields have been provided. This does not mean that the provided documents are correct, only that documents have been uploaded. Once edited, a mark will have the status "Unpaid"or "Pending Validation" associated with it, depending if the mark has been paid. The mark may still be further edited until until it has been Validated.

Once a mark has been Validated, no editing of the mark may be performed. If a validator requires that certain information be amended, they will contact the Account Holder and provided a means to edit or upload any required information.

Once successfully validated, all associated mark information may not be changed. If amendments are required due to legal reasons or otherwise, please contact the MVS Support Center through the information on the Contact Page .


Validation and the Mark Life Cycle

From the illustration above, the Mark Life Cycle on the Mark Validation System is as follows.

Stage 1: Mark Addition

In stage 1 the Account Holder adds the mark to the MVS and provides as much information as possible. This creates the mark on the MVS and assigns it a status of "unpaid", awaiting finalisation of information and payment for validation.

Stage 2: Finalisation of Information

I stage 2 all the required information is finalised and all the necessary documentation has been uploaded. The mark is now ready to proceed to checkout and move to validation.

Stage 3: Payment for Validation

Through the checkout process the finalised mark is paid and and is ready to be validated. The status "pending validation" is applied to the mark, indicating that a validator is validating the mark.

Stage 4: Mark Validation / Rejection

In stage 4 of the mark life cycle the mark undergoes the validation process by a validator. All the provided information and documentation is reviewed by a validator.

If all the information is validated as correct and legal, the validator will successfully Validate the mark. The mark may now be used for Sunrise, Claims and Watch Services. The status "validated" will be applied to the mark, indicating that it has been successfully validated.

If any of the information or documentation provided for the mark is incorrect or invalid as identified through the validation process, the mark will be rejected. A notification e-mail will be sent to all the associated parties indicating the reason for the rejection. A mark that has been rejected will have a status of "rejected' applied to it, indicating that it has undergone the validation process and was rejected.

Stage 5: Sunrise, Claims and Watch Services

All validated marks are eligible to have their approved mark strings registered as domain names during the Sunrise Phase of the ZACR TLDs. To achieve this, a unique Signed Mark Data (SMD) code will be generated and given to the Mark Holder. Mark Holders must provide the code to an ICANN and ZACR Accredited Registrar in order to successfully register their mark as a domain name and exercise their prior rights.


Prioritisation of Marks

During the Sunrise Period of all new ZACR TLDs, priority will be given to certain types of validated marks. The highest priority that may be given to a mark is "Priority 1". At the end of the Sunrise Period, only the highest priority application will be awarded the respective domain name. The figure below illustrates the priority of the various marks that the MVS validates.



Mark and Domain Label Matching

To ensure a complete and accurate relation between marks and their respective available labels to be used as domain names, the Mark Validation System uses a technique known as Identical Matching.

To have an "Identical Match" a domain name label must consist of the complete and identical textual elements of the mark. In this regard:

  • Spaces contained within the Mark are either replaced by hyphens (and visa versa) or omitted;
  • Only certain special characters contained within a trademark are spelled out with appropriate words describing it ("@" and "&");
  • Punctuation or special characters contained within a mark that are unable to be used in a second-level domain name may either be (i) omitted or (ii) replaced by spaces, hyphens or underscores and still be considered identical matches;
  • No plural and no "marks contained"

Supported Domains

  • .africa
  • .joburg
  • .durban
  • .capetown
  • zacr