Types of Trade Marks

Trade marks may come in many shapes and forms, providing that they meet the crucial requirement of graphic representation. This article looks at the differing types of trade marks that are capable of registration.

The purpose or function of a trade mark is to indicate the trade origin of goods and services, in essence linking the owner of the mark to the goods or services they provide.

Common Trade Marks

The most common forms of trade marks tend to come in the following forms:

  • Word only marks i.e. CHANEL, DIOR, YSL, NIKE, Addidas, Apple, GOOGLE, Burger King, McDonalds etc.
  • Logo only marks i.e. the Nike swoosh, the apple….apple, the three stripes for Addidas, the android alien, the Microsoft squares etc.
  • Logo and word combinations i.e. the above examples combined.

Shape marks

You may be surprised to note that even the shape of goods or their packaging may be registered i.e. the Coco Cola Bottle, the four bars for the kit kat chocolate and the toblerone triangle are all registered trade marks!

Sounds and colours

You may be even more surprised to note that even sounds and colours are capable of registration. Registrations of sound trade marks include the ‘I’m loving it’ tone for the McDonanld’s restaurant, the Nokia tune or the 2oth Century fanfare before the start of a movie.

A recent example of a colour registration may be illustrated by the attepted registration by Cadbury’s chocolate, for the distinctive shade of purple that is used on the packaging of their chocolate products, unfortunatly for Cadburys they recently lost a five year battle to register the colour.

It must be borne in mind that the successful registrations of the unusual types of trade marks are very difficult and sometimes due to distinctiveness acquired through use.

Marks with functions other than ordinary trade marks

Certification marks

A certification mark provides an assurance that the goods or services bearing the mark posses a certain characteristic or meet a specific standard i.e. the fair trade mark.

Collective marks

A collective mark will identify that goods or services bearing the mark originate from a certain trade association as opposed a one particular trader, i.e. the BAFTS association (British Association for Fair Trade Shops).

Lawdit are trade mark specialists that have been registering trade marks for over a decade! Thinking of registering a mark? Get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

If you’d like to know more about this article please send an email to Michael Coyle quoting the article title and any questions you might have, alternatively call the office number on 02380 235 979 or send an enquiry through our contact form.

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