The Problems of the Registration of Non-Visible Sign as European Community Trademark: Theory and Practice (article in Lithuanian)

Rūta Zmejauskaitė


The registration of sounds, smells and tastes as Community Trademarks, became possible from April 1, 1996. Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Trademarks and Designs) (OHIM) began accepting applications for these new forms of marks when EC Regulation 40/94 on the Community Trademark came into force. These new forms of trademarks (sounds, smells and tastes) are known as trademarks consisting of a non-visible sign. One of the requirements, which have to be satisfied by trademarks consisting of a non-visible sign before registration will be granted, is that mark must be capable of graphical representation. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that infringement rights can be determined and third parties can understand from the graphical representation, the nature of the mark. A number of cases, analyzed in the article (Case C-273/00, Ralf Sieckmann v. Deutsches Patent-und Markenamt, Case C-283/01, Shield Mark BV v. Joost Kist h.o.d.n. Memex, etc.) have considered whether the requirement of graphical representation can be satisfied by marks consisting of sounds, tastes and smells. The first decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) relating to trademarks consisting of a non-visible sign was Sieckmann decision (Case C-273/00, Ralf Sieckmann v. Deutsches Patent-und Markenamt), which dealt with the issue of graphic representation, specifically for smells.


non-traditional trademark; mark consisting of a non-visible sign; the requirement of graphic representation of a sign; smell; taste; sound

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236