Sun International shields its Sun City brand from imposters
Tribunal orders timeshare company to stop using ‘Sun City’ in its name
Sun International, the JSE-listed gaming, casino and hotel group, has interdicted an entity called Sun City Timeshare Rentals from operating under the name, accusing it of infringing the trademark of its flagship resort, Sun City.
The group, founded by Sol Kerzner in the 1960s, told the companies tribunal it became aware of the existence of Sun City Timeshare Rentals in March and has tried unsuccessfully to engage the entity to drop the trademark.
Sun International, worth about R11bn on the JSE, told the tribunal that its Sun City resort is key in its portfolio and has allowed it to gain market share over the years.
The group said that as a gaming, hospitality and accommodation player, it has market share of an estimated $1.4bn. It has invested $1.5bn in tourism infrastructure over the years and has spent about R100m advertising its business.
The tribunal ruled in Sun International’s favour and ordered Sun City Timeshare Rentals to cease using a trademark that incorporates the words “Sun City”.
The Pretoria-based Sun City Timeshare Rentals did not oppose Sun International’s application.
“The intellectual property owners and reputable business names must be protected from ‘those passing themselves or coat-tailing’ on their reputation and goodwill. Furthermore, a determination must be made whether the proposed name may mislead the public to believe that there is a non-existent association between two companies that are in fact not associated with each other,” the tribunal ruled.
The company in 2022 revealed an expansion plan worth approximately R1.1bn, comprising multiple projects across the Sun City resort.
Business Day reported in October that the R295m first phase of Sun Vacation Club luxury accommodation at Sun City is way ahead of Sun International’s feasibility study.
The Sun Vacation Club, with 22,000 members, offers options for five to 10 years during peak and off-peak periods. Sun International introduced the conventional timeshare model at Sun City in 1996 by converting a staff village into a resort.
Lefika Villas is the first five-star timeshare on offer at the Sun Vacation Club. The first phase will add 48 three-bedroom and 10 free-standing four-bedroom villas.
Sun International is on the verge of increasing its already sizeable market share after it announced on Monday that it has reignited its interest in the assets of Peermont and its flagship Gauteng facility, Emperors Palace, in a deal worth more than R7bn.
Situated near OR Tambo International Airport, Emperors Palace is a leading casino resort in Gauteng, with 1,695 slot machines, 69 gaming tables and more than 750 rooms.
With Denise Mhlanga
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