File photo: Manqoba Ngidi
Durban - Who is the real Dr Smile?

This is the question before the Pretoria High Court, with two Johannesburg dentists both claiming they are Dr Smile.

Dentist Zeyn Khan said he had been known for years as Dr Smile.

He even writes for international journos under the name Dr Smile, about his quest to ensure that his patients have beautiful smiles.

There is even a signboard in front of his Hyde Park practice with the name Dr Smile, Khan said.

He claimed that fellow dentist, Dr Rawahani Faizi, who has his practice in Sandton, claimed he too, was Dr Smile.

The difference is, however, that Faizi had registered the Dr Smile trademark with the Registrar of Trademarks, while Khan did not.

But Khan said this did not matter, as he was entitled to protect “what is his”.

He asked the court to order the Registrar of Trademarks to expunge the Dr Smile trademark as registered by his opposition. He also wanted the court to interdict Faizi from ever again using the Dr Smile name.

Khan said in papers before court that he opened his practice in 2006 and soon after settling in he called his practice Dr Smile. His telephone number, when converted into letters, even read Dr Smile. It is his name and his name alone, Khan said.

He even advertised under this name on a national and international level. “I had established a countrywide reputation as Dr Smile and I am entitled to protect this name,” he said.

Khan said he was shocked when he got a call from Faizi, who told Khan to remove the name Dr Smile from his billboard and advertisements. “He said he is the registered owner of Dr Smile.”

Khan said he had built up his reputation as Dr Smile for years and this name was "worth fighting for.” He wrote to the registrar to ask it to transfer the mark Dr Smile to him, but the request fell on deaf ears.

Faizi has not yet submitted his affidavit to court, but the court added the Registrar of Trademarks as a respondent as it has an interest in the matter.

Pretoria News