What trade marks can be registered?
Any sign that can be represented in a way that is clear, precise, easily accessible and objective can be registered as a trade mark:
– Words or letters
– Figurative elements, pictures or patterns
– Shapes of the goods or their packaging
– Sounds (for National and EU trade marks)
– Colours or colour combinations
– Movements and animations
or combinations of the above.
When a trade mark can be registered?
In summary, a trademark can be registered when:
1. it is new, and it is not identical or similar to any of the trademarks already registered for the same or similar goods and/or services;
2. it is capable of distinguishing the goods and/or services that it applies to. Marks with no distinctive character and which are not capable of being registered can include single colours or slogans, such as “Peace and Love” or “Best Price in Town”;
3. it isn’t a merely descriptive trade mark that just refers to nature, quality, quantity, features, graphical origin or use of the products and/or services, for example the words ‘The Big London Book Store’ would not be registrable for a large book shop in London;
4. it hasn’t been registered in bad faith just to anticipate, and then prevent, the registration of another identical or similar trade mark already used by another competitor;
5. it is contrary to public policy and/or morality, for example a trademark for the term ‘Fucking Hell’ was attempted to be registered in Germany for a beer brand, and was rejected on these grounds;
6. it isn’t deceptive and, therefore, it doesn’t mislead the consumer about any feature of the goods and/or services, such as the quality, or the geographical origin when relevant for the consumer (amongst others), for example “Woolly” for acrylic clothes, or “Parma” for English ham.
Get in touch to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or need help.
This Basic Training article was written by Silvia Dal Cin for Legal Sidekick. Legal Sidekick is the legal platform for startups. We offer automated contracts and loads of startup legal resources and guides. For trade marks and other legal queries, contact us if you need help.