Monday 7 February 2011

Painting plus "suggestive word" can be a trade mark, says Swedish court

Could this be a trade mark? Yes,
if you add a "suggestive word"
The Swedish Court of Patent Appeals gave judgment recently in a case involving the use of paintings as figurative trade marks for food and beverages (PBR 08-005, 08-007, 08-050).  The trade mark applicant,  Kvibergs Marknad AB, sought to register paintings by PS Kröyer, Alexander Roslin and Gustav Klimt as trade marks.  In 2007 the Swedish Patent and Registration Office refused these applications on the basis that they were merely decorative, not distinctive, and the public would see them only as paintings, not as trade marks.

The Court of Patent Appeals agreed in principle: where a trade mark is made up of elements that are not a means of individualisation of a product, it will not be perceived as a distinctive mark - this is particularly true where an element of the mark is well known in a different context. However, one of the marks applied for consisted of what the Court called "a figurative element together with a word of a suggestive nature". This figurative mark could function as a trade mark and, therefore, the bar to registration had been overcome. The court directed that the Patent and Registration Office reassess the application in light of the court's decision.

Source: "Paintings cannot be registered as figurative trademarks" by Tom Kronhöffer and Sofia Ekdahl (MAQS Law Firm, Stockholm) in World Trademark Review

No comments: