Types of Trademarks

Types of Trademarks

The following is a list of the types of trademarks that can be registered:

  • Ordinary or standard trade mark
  • Most trade marks are ordinary or standard. They are usually made up of words, slogans or logos (or a combination). The purposes of this type of mark is to distinguish the goods and services of the business from those of competitors.

  • Collective marks
  • A Collective Trade Mark is a mark that differentiates goods or services of an association from those of others not in the group e.g. members of brewers association.

  • Certification mark
  • A Certification Trade Mark is more complex. It is a mark that typically “certifies” goods or services as being to a certain standard or of a certain quality. It can only be registered in the name of the applicants if they themselves do not produce or provide the goods or services to which the mark is applied.

  • Series of trade marks
  • A series of trade marks is a number of marks (no more than six), which essentially resemble each other and differ only in respect of non-distinctive elements that do not substantially affect their identity.

  • Three-dimensional mark
  • A three-dimensional mark is usually a mark that consists of the shape of a product or its packaging.

Not all trade marks however are registrable. Registration can be refused for the following reasons:

  • It is identical with or similar to a trade mark that is already on the Register in Ireland or the EU in respect of identical or similar goods.
  • The mark does not distinguish the goods or services of one business from those of other businesses,
  • It does not have any distinctive character, e.g. a name or phrase in common everyday use in that field of business
  • It is made up of essentially characteristics of goods or services (e.g. quality, location of manufacture)
  • It consists exclusively of the shape of goods themselves which largely due to their technical function rather than design
  • It is offensive to public policy or it is immoral,
  • The purposes of the mark is to create a false impression as to the nature, quality, or geographical origin of the goods or services,
  • The application is made in “bad faith”, e.g. to try an create rights over and above a competitor which has long established use of the trade or product name already, albeit unregistered

If considering a trademark application it is critical that businesses be properly advised and the potential for registration assessed. When developing a brand, you should seek our advices as to the availability of that brand, logo or product name for registration. We can check the relevant Registers and advise on pitfalls with the choice or name or potential difficulties from similar or competing marks already registered. We can also advise on the registration strategy.

Martin Moloney