Novartis fails to register transdermal patch design as a trademark


Novartis AG applied for a Danish trademark registration in Class 5 of the Nice Classification for a patch used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The sign consisted of a thin, transdermal patch comprising a square with a circular section in the middle surrounded by 15 small dots.

The trademark was registered as a Community trademark (No 11293362), but the Cancellation Division of the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market declared the registration to be invalid, as the trademark did not possess any sufficiently specific or arbitrary characteristics. The decision was appealed.

The Danish Trademark Office also rejected the registration as the mark was not found to have sufficient distinctiveness. This decision was confirmed by the Board of Patents and Trademarks Appeals (Novartis AG v Danish Board of Patents and Trademarks Appeals).

Information was supplied to show that the trademark had been registered in Germany, Norway, Turkey and Benelux.

However, the Maritime and Commercial Court also agreed that the trademark lacked distinctiveness and, as no evidence was produced to show that the trademark was well known among consumers, the court found for the Board of Patents and Trademarks Appeals. Consequently, the sign was denied registration as a trademark (Case V-33-14, June 22 2015).

Mads Marstrand-Jørgensen, NJORD Law Firm, Copenhagen

Get unlimited access to all WTR content