Trademarks applied for in black and white or shades of grey no longer receive protection for all colours
In Norwegian and Nordic law, practice has long been that trademarks registered in black and white or grey tones also have protection in all colours. This practice has differed from that of the EU trademark authority, EUIPO, where black and white marks are only protected for the black and white reproduction of the mark.
In connection with changes to the Trademark Act that entered into force on 1 March 2023, Norway's practice in this area was harmonised with the EU's practice. According to the Trademark Regulations Section 8 third paragraph second sentence, trademarks filed to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office after this date only receive protection in black and white or grey tones, i.e. as applied for. Similar changes have also taken place in Denmark, Finland and Sweden.
The change affects marks that have been "filed" to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office from and including 1 March 2023. The word "filed" refers to the application date for national applications, while for international designations in Norway through the Madrid Protocol, this refers to the international registration date or subsequent designation date.
The change does not have retroactive force, and trademarks in black and white or shades of grey that have been filed to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office before 1 March 2023 will still have protection in colour.
For a trademark to be considered to be in colour, it is not enough to state in the application that the mark is in colour, the reproduction of the mark must also show the colours. The colours can also be specified in the trademark description, but this is not required.
(Logos from the top: Starbucks Corporation, PepsiCo Inc og Shell Brands International AG)