What can you register?
A trademark can consist of:
- words and combinations of words, names, logos, figurative marks and images, letters, numbers, packaging, sounds or a combination of these.
Different types of trademarks
- Figurative marks such as the butterfly from Kari Traa or the curve from Nike.
- Word marks such as Swix or Kaptein Sabeltann
- Combined marks containing words and figures, such as a bottle label
- Slogans such as "Rent mel i posen".
- Three dimensional trademarks such as the shape of a perfume bottle
- Numbers and letters, such as IBM og 4711
- Sound marks
Apply for a trademark
A trademark can only be registered if it can be used to differentiate your goods or services from those of others.
A trademark must be distinctive
A trademark should express something more than the characteristics or qualities of the goods or services you intend to use it for - we call it "distinctiveness." The trademark should ensure that consumers recognise it as offering a particular product or service.
We will not necessarily be able to register a slogan such as WE KEEP OUR PROMISES (for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals) because it is only statement promising that you can trust that the products involved maintain the quality promised by the manufacturer. Everyone must be allowed to make the same statement.
Descibing goods or services
You can not get exclusive rights to a trademark that only describes the item or service. By "descriptive" we mean for example, that the trademark describes the product, or the characteristics or qualities of the goods or services.
You can not get exclusive rights to ØKERN AUTO REPAIRS for services that involve "repairing cars" since the trademark only describes where in Oslo the service is offered, namely Økern, and what type of services are offered there, namely auto repair services.
A trademark that is descriptive or lacking in distintivness can still be registered if:
- the trademark application also includes a more specific term, such as STAUREA - WE KEEP OUR PROMISES
- the trademark application also includes a figure or image such as ØKERN AUTO REPAIRS together with a fanciful figure (an eagle, animated car or the like). Such a combination of text and image in a trademark is called a combined mark.
But, here it is very important to be aware that in such cases, you do not necessarily have exclusive rights to the descriptive text in the trademark, but to the trademark as a whole. This means that others are free to use the same text in their marketing or register it as a trademark along with other distinctive elements.
Is the brand registered by others?
If the brand is already registered by someone else, it may still be possible to get it registered if you use it for other goods and services, or if you get the consent of the holder of the registration. Read more about consent.
If the registered trademark is a logo with descriptive text, it is not certain that the holder has protection for the text itself. A combined mark contains both words and pictures (figurative elements) and this means that the holder does not necessarily have exclusive rights to the descriptive text in the mark, but to the mark as a whole. This means that others are free to use the same text in their marketing or register it as a trademark along with other distinctive elements.
When we consider new applications, we usually just check what is registered in Norway. A translation of a trademark registered in another country (eg USA) can be registered in Norway, as long as the requirements for registration are fulfilled (distinctiveness, not the same as or similar to other marks etc.). However if the original foreign trademark is so well known that a large proportion of customers in Norway would connect your trademark with the foreign trademark, the foreign holder may object to the registration.
Established through use
Even if the trademark is not sufficiently distinctive it may still be registered because it has been established through extensive use. If you can document extensive use of the trademark in Norway and show that this has led to the trademark being well known for your goods or services.
We also do an assessment of all trademark applications to see whether there are any older registered trademarks that may be an obstacle to the registration of the trademark you have applied for. We determine whether potential purchasers of the goods or services in question may confuse these trademarks or come to believe that there is a connection between the trademark owners. When comparing two trademarks we must take into account that a consumer will not normally have the opportunity to compare the trademarks in the purchasing situation, but must rely on the imperfect image he has of them in his memory.
If we consider the trademark you have applied for as misleading, we may not necessarily be able to register it. A trademark can be misleading if a cross-section of potential buyers can get the wrong impression of the type of goods or services in question. This might be quality, function, quantity, price, purpose, origin or nationality.
- The trademark DR. HAUSMANN, for orthopedic shoes, may be misleading to consumers if the applicant is not a doctor. This is because we assume that a consumer wanting to buy orthopedic shoes will be influenced by whether the product is made by a doctor or not.
- You would probably assume that the trademark COPENHAGEN IT SATISFIES for tobacco products, originated in Copenhagen. If the trademark applicant is, for example, from the USA, we will not necessarily be able to register the trademark because it may be considered misleading.