Despite increasing attention to trademark protection, not every mark can be registered as a trademark

Author: Violeta Sutkiene, Associated Partner, Head of the Trademark and Design Division at METIDA

Trademark registration process has become faster and simpler in Lithuania, as well as the European Community. This encourages trademark proprietors to take care of their trademarks on time. Specifically, over 2000 applications are filed annually in Lithuania and this year the Office for Harmonization at Internal Market (OHIM) has received over 100 000 Community trademark applications.

Trademark proprietors are granted with exclusive rights to their trademark use. They can prohibit any commercial use of a mark identical to their registered trademarks for identical or confusingly similar goods or services without their consent if this can give rise to the likelihood of confusion on the part of the public, or if the illegal use of the mark results in the unjust advantage, and if a distinctive character is damaged, as well as trademark’s reputation is in threat.

An entrepreneur looking after his personal or company’s property should be aware that trademark is a tangible asset that must be protected. The mark has to perform the main trademark function, i.e. to distinguish between manufacturers’ goods and services for it could be registered. If the mark filed for the registration does not have this distinctive character and is only of a descriptive nature, it cannot be recognized as the trademark and is just a simple mark.

A name of the trademark often overlaps with juridical person’s name, especially if it is used in business management, corporate practice, advertising services, construction and renovation business, logistics and trade. Trademark and juridical persons’ names are separate industrial property objects performing different functions. The trademark identifies goods and services produced or provided by different business entities, while juridical person’s name helps to identify different juridical persons.

Not every trademark meets its requirements, particularly if it describes the goods and services it marks. For example, trademarks, such as Online group, Zoomaistas, Kuponai.lt, Palukanu lubos were refused to be registered. However, descriptive words in an original visual image, which gives the trademark the distinctive character, can be registered as the trademark (see examples below).

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 16.05.14

The trademark has to be original, creative and distinct from other marks, but most importantly, it must be protected and registered from the unfair use.

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