Examiners’ perspective: best practice when applying for non-traditional marks

Registering non-traditional marks in the United States presents challenges seldom encountered when registering more familiar word and symbol trademarks. Representatives from the US Patent and Trademark Office explain how to overcome some of the most common hurdles

Section 45 of the US Trademark Act (the Lanham Act) defines ‘trademarks’ to include “any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof”. Words and symbols such as logos are familiar, but what about three-dimensional (3D) shapes, colours, patterns, touch, taste, smell or sound marks? These days, the variety of devices which can function as a trademark is limited only by the ingenuity of their creators. For rights holders keen to obtain registered protection for a non-traditional mark, there are a number of mistakes to avoid.

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