Sound, motion, multimedia and hologram marks
Technological development and the digitisation of society have changed the way customers and companies interact - companies increasingly meet their customers via digital surfaces. One consequence of this is that it is increasingly relevant for companies to use audio, video and animation elements to develop their brands and promote their products and services. For example, many people will probably recognise the video and sound sequence that plays at the start of an episode on Netflix or HBO - perhaps even just by hearing the sound. These sequences can actually be protected as trademarks.
Following a change in the law that entered into force on 1 March 2023, it has become easier to register these types of non-traditional trademarks, such as sound marks, motion marks, multimedia marks and hologram marks. The reason why this is now easier is that there was previously a requirement that trademarks had to be "represented graphically" in order to receive protection - that is, through text or images. However, it is now possible to obtain protection for such marks using, for example, an audio file, video file or audio-visual file.
Below we explain how you can apply for trademark registration of sound marks, motion marks, multimedia marks and hologram marks.
A sound mark is a trademark that consists only of sound. Sound marks can in principle consist of all imaginable tones, sounds and words, or a combination of these. For example, there may be instruments being played, electronic sounds, singing, talking, whistling or sounds from the animal kingdom. A typical example of sound marks are so-called "jingles", which are short, catchy bits of melody that consumers recognise and associate with a product or service.
How to apply for a sound mark?
- The mark must consist exclusively of a sound or combination of sounds
- The mark must be entered as "sound mark" in the application form.
- The mark must be reproduced as an audio file, or alternatively by an exact reproduction in a notation system.
A motion mark is a mark that consists of or includes a movement or a change in the position of the trademark's elements. This could, for example, be a trademark consisting of a logo that moves, that changes colour, or where new elements are introduced over time.
We are constantly being introduced to trademarks in digital ways. Because this enables the use of motion marks, more actors have started to adopt such marks.
How to apply for a motion mark?
- The mark must consist of or include a movement or a change in the position of the trademark's elements.
- The mark must be entered as "motion mark" in the application form*.
- The mark must be reproduced by means of a video clip. Alternatively, you can submit numbered still images showing the movement or change of position.
A multimedia mark is a trademark that consists of or is formed by a combination of image and sound. The visual elements in the mark can be both text elements and graphic elements, and they can be with or without movement.
Imagine, for example, that you are at the cinema, and just before the film starts there is a sequence consisting of both video/animation, text elements and sound, which tells you which film studio is behind the film you are about to see. This is a classic example of a multimedia mark. However, it is not only within the film industry that such marks are used, and more actors in all industries have started to use marks of this type when marketing their products.
How to apply for a multimedia mark?
- The mark must consist of or be formed by a combination of image and sound.
- The mark must be entered as "multimedia mark" in the application form*.
- The mark must be reproduced as an audio-visual file showing the combination of image and sound.
Holograms are three-dimensional images, which are formed by a form of light transmission. It is becoming more common to use hologram technology in order to stand out among other actors and win customers' attention, for example by creating holograms of the products for sale, of advertising posters, and the like.
How to apply for a hologram mark?
- The mark must consist of elements of a holographic nature.
- The mark must be entered as "hologram mark" in the application form.
- The mark must be reproduced by means of a video file or a graphic or photographic reproduction with the viewing angles necessary to sufficiently show the hologram in its entirety.
Remember that, as with the more traditional types of trademark, sound, motion, multimedia and hologram marks must also meet the general requirements for registration, such as that the trademark must have distinctive character, and not be confused with older registered trademarks.
*The Norwegian Industrial Property Office has not yet put in place a separate trademark category for motion and multimedia marks. This means that, for the time being, you must still select "Other mark" in the application form in Altinn, and enter the type of trademark in the free text field, when applying for this type of trademark.
For questions about non-traditional trademarks
- Preben Valklev Vikøyr: email@example.com
- Magnus Haugo: firstname.lastname@example.org