What is registerable as a trade mark?

It is possible to register a trade mark relative to a wide variety of different items. The two key criteria for identifying whether you want to register one of those objects as such or not will be:

  • Whether that item, if used as a trade mark, allows the consumer to recognise your goods or services
  • Whether that item, if used as a trade mark, distinguishes them from those of your competitors

Far and away the most common forms of trade mark are word marks and figurative marks, which are commonly known as logos. Most companies will attempt to register them.

Less common forms of trade mark registration include:

  • Colours: British Petroleum’s shade of green and the Orange telephone company’s shade of orange spring to mind
  • Shapes: One example from the fashion industry is the Chanel No 5 perfume bottle, and another, the shape of the iconic Coca Cola bottle

Equally, sounds, videos and holograms may be registered as trade marks and service marks.  

Movements and gestures, although uncommon, are also registerable. 

There are, however, limitations as to what can be registered – a new trade mark ought not to be confusingly similar or identical to one that is registered for similar or identical goods. Usually it is a good idea to do some trade mark clearance searching as part of the branding process. Equally, it should not be descriptive to the product to which it effects. A trade mark should be distinctive. A trade mark should also not be contrary to public morality.  A trade mark should be more than merely laudatory – by way of an example, the clothing brand “Supreme” had a great deal of difficulty in registering their own mark for exactly this reason. 

There are numerous other criteria for registrability and it is recommended that you get in touch with us in order that we can advise you how best to achieve your goal. Please call intellectual property specialist, Jonathan Perlmutter, on 01206 217620 for a free consultation. Visit business intellectual property solicitors for more information.

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