Increasing number of hashtag brands - non traditional trademarks

There are various types of trademarks. Besides words and logo’s companies also claim less common signs like, packaging, melodies, and even the outline of a shop. Since 2010 there is a new player, namely the hashtag trademark.

Recent research shows that in the past year more # trademarks have been filed. Most of them in the US. The hashtag itself does not make a trademark distinctive, so a combination with a descriptive element will not be sufficient to pass the absolute grounds test. For this reason, probably a lot of social media campaigns are not registered as a trademark.

Furthermore, many of these campaigns are short term only, and therefore alone not registered as a trademark. The same goes for campaigns on Twitter. However, if a campaign is used consistently and for a longer period, a registration as trademark is recommended.

(image: The Football club KAA Gent uses the slogan “Come On Blue-White” and on Twitter COBW)



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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?
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