Unconventional and Well-Known Trade Marks

19 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2006

See all articles by David Vaver

David Vaver

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School


This paper considers two fields of trade mark law which have expanded in recent years. Unconventional trade marks involving sounds, smells and shapes have started appearing on trade mark registries in Europe and the United States. The owners of well-known marks like Coca-Cola, which has long been firmly protected against imitators and "free riders", have also not been content with the protection they receive under national laws and have managed apparently to secure even more advantages from national legislatures and international fora. The United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement of 2003 compelled Singapore to strengthen its trade mark laws to encompass these developments. This paper examines unconventional and well-known marks from a comparative, primarily European law, perspective. It argues that the expanded protection accorded to these marks is not self-evidently a good thing in public policy terms. It concludes that re-forming the law is not the same as reforming it.

Suggested Citation

Vaver, David, Unconventional and Well-Known Trade Marks. Singapore Journal of Legal Studies,pp. 1-19, 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=952334

David Vaver (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

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