Trade mark definition
Trade marks are signs used in trade to identify products.
Your trade mark is the symbol your customers use to pick you out. It distinguishes you from your competitors. You can protect and build upon your trade mark if you register it.
In some countries, you can also get protection even if your trade mark is not registered, as long as it is used. However, we strongly advise you to register it in order to obtain the best protection.
The only condition imposed on a registered trade mark is that it must be clearly defined; otherwise neither you nor your competitors will be certain of what it covers.
At the EUIPO you can register
A word mark consists exclusively of words or letters, numerals, other standard typographic characters or a combination thereof that can be typed.View examples
A trade mark where non-standard characters, stylisation or layout, or a graphic feature or a colour are used, including marks that consist exclusively of figurative elements.View examples
Figurative mark containing word elements*
A figurative mark consisting of a combination of verbal and figurative elements.View examples
A shape mark consists of, or extends to, a three-dimensional shape. It can include containers, packaging, the product itself or its appearance.View examples
Shape mark containing word elements*
A shape mark that contains verbal elements.View examples
A position mark consists of the specific way in which the mark is placed or affixed to the product.View examples
A pattern mark consists exclusively of a set of elements which are repeated regularly.View examples
Colour (single) mark
A colour single mark is just that – a trade mark which consists exclusively of a single colour (without contours).View examples
Colour (combination) mark
A trade mark which consists exclusively of a combination of colours (without contours).View examples
A sound mark consists exclusively of a sound or a combination of sounds.View examples
A trade mark that consists of, or extends to a movement or a change in the position of the elements of a mark.View examples
It consists, or extends to, the combination of images and sound.View examples
This is a new category of trade mark (as and from 1 October 2017). Hologram marks consist of elements with holographic characteristics.View examples
*Note: The trade mark types marked with an asterisk are not separate categories under the EU trade mark Implementing Regulation. However, they are differentiated in e-Filing for practical and technical reasons.
A little bit of theory
The concept behind intellectual property (IP) is straightforward and has been with us for a long time. Wherever we go, we are surrounded by intellectual property.
Mere thoughts and ideas do not qualify; intellectual property defines and protects human innovations and creations
- Trade marks signal the origin of products to consumers
- Designs specify how products look
- Copyright relates to artistic creations, such as books, music, paintings, sculptures and films
- Patents protect technical inventions in all fields of technology
Intellectual property rewards innovators and enables everyone to benefit from their achievements.
Download this map – it will help you register your rights.
More resources on IP