South African fashion company Kingsgate Clothing Group and Gap Inc have completed the latest in a series of trademark hearings spanning back eight years.

Kingsgate has refrained to make any comment while the verdict is still pending. An outcome on the trademark battle is expected by the end of the year.

In the latest high court hearing, held before the Transvaal Provincial Division of South Africa's High Court last Thursday and Friday, Gap resumed its appeal against a ruling that would prohibit South African retailer Stuttafords from stocking Gap merchandise.

This follows a trademark tug-of-war with Kingsgate-owned firm Salt of the Earth Creations (SOTEC), which registered ownership of the Gap trademark in South Africa in the 1970s. Gap said that it first argued for the trademark in 1999, based on its fame and alleging "SOTEC's failure to use its Gap trademarks".

However, Kingsgate says that SOTEC produced jeans under the Gap trademark during the 1970s, and has shown evidence of manufacture and sale throughout the 1980s, 90s and into the new millennium.

Kingsgate was granted an interdict in May 2007 to stop Stuttafords selling Gap merchandise, but the ruling has since been suspended. Gap and Banana Republic clothes continue to be sold at Stuttafords stores in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

"Our trademarks are among our most valuable assets, and we want to protect those trademark rights," a Gap spokesperson told just-style. "We have been successful protecting our trademark rights in South Africa in the past, and we believe we will be successful again.

"Understandably, it would be difficult to say with any kind of certainty when this matter will go to trial or be resolved, although we anticipate this will be a lengthy process. We look forward to moving this case forward."

The trademark hearing has concluded and is awaiting an outcome.