The Absolute and Relative Grounds for Refusal

Trade Mark legislation lays down a number of rules and conditions that must be satisfied before a trade mark may be registered, If you’re considering registering a trade mark it is important that you are aware of the absolute and relative grounds for refusal as detailed in sections 3 and 5 of the Trade Marks Act 1994.

The purpose of a Trade Mark is to distinguish goods or services between traders and make them identifiable as originating from a particular source.

In order to prevent an owner from unfairly obtaining a monopoly a Trade Mark will be refused registration in some of the following circumstances:

  • The mark is descriptive of goods or services.
  • The mark consists of customary words.
  • The mark is non- distinctive.
  • The mark is laudatory.
  • The mark may conflict with an earlier registered mark.

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