Registration of Non-Traditional Trademarks

Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, 13(1), January 2008

NUS Centre for International Law Research Paper

8 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2018

Date Written: January 10, 2008


The paper deals with the issue of registrability of various non-traditional trademarks. Non-traditional trademarks include sound marks, odour marks, colour marks, shapes and taste marks. The paper examines the question of registrability of different types of non-traditional trademarks in different jurisdictions like US and EU by referring to landmark cases and provisions in their respective legislations. Some of the interesting cases that have been discussed include the Harley-Davison case, Sieckmann case, Shield Mark case, etc. Presently, there is no law governing non-traditional trademarks exclusively, in India. In the light of European Court of Justice (ECJ) jurisprudence and the law evolved by US courts, the author has tried to draw a picture of the future of non-traditional trademarks in India and analysed whether it could be registered or not. Reference is made to the prevailing Trademarks Act in India and the Rules framed under it. The paper also identifies reasons why non-traditional trademarks especially in case of unconventional sound marks, taste marks, odour marks, etc. might not get adequate acceptability as registered trademarks in the Indian Trademarks Registry Office.

Keywords: Non-traditional trademark; Registration; Registrability; Graphical representation; Trademarks Registry Office; Distinctive trademark; Functional trademark; Secondary meaning

Suggested Citation

Mishra, Neha, Registration of Non-Traditional Trademarks (January 10, 2008). Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, 13(1), January 2008, NUS Centre for International Law Research Paper, Available at SSRN:

Neha Mishra (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200

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