Non-distinctive logo’s - EUIPO's new guideline

In 2014 the EUIPO presented a new guideline regarding the admissibility of logo´s as a registered trademark. A little stripe under the word or a square as background will not convert a logo in a distinctive and valid trademark. The idea is that consumers will not recognize the sign as a trademark, because the logo is too descriptive. As a consequence, many logo´s are being refused by the authorities. In the meantime, the first appeals against these refusals have been judged by the court, that (unfortunately) confirms the new policy.

For example, the silhouette of a bodybuilder has been refused for food supplements, clothing and a web shop for these products. According to the court, the consumer directly links the stylized image of the bodybuilder in this pose with the claimed goods and services. This image may therefore not be monopolized.

The same faith was suffered by a logo for solar panels. The customers, being specialist, would directly recognize the drawing as a section of a solar panel. The fact that these panels might have very different shapes is not relevant, according to the court that refuses the trademark. A company that wishes to claim a descriptive word should therefore add a figurative element that does not refer to the distinguished product.


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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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