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Famous Trademark Registration Refusals


Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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05 June 2013

The purpose of a Trade Mark is to distinguish goods or services between traders and make them identifiable as originating from a particular source. Trade mark legislation lays down a number of rules and conditions that must be satisfied before a trade mark may be registered.

In order to prevent an owner from unfairly obtaining a monopoly a Trade Mark will be refused registration in the following circumstances:

  • The mark is descriptive of goods or services.
  • The mark consists of customary words.
  • The mark is non- distinctive.
  • The mark is laudatory.
  • The mark may conflict with an earlier registered mark.


Famous Trade mark Registration failures

Harley Davidson

The sound of a revving engine.


The yellow smiley face (that has been in use for over the last 40 years

Gareth Bale (Footballer Tottenham Hotspur)

The heart shaped hand gesture he uses when celebrating a goal.

Donald Trump

The term ‘you’re fired’ in relation to the US version of the Apprentice.


The designer Coco Chanel in their attempted registration of the word ‘Jersey’ faced fierce opposition from inhabitants of the Channel Islands, the senator of Jersey commented the opposition was in relation to ownership of the name and not to stop Chanel from using the name.

Walt Disney

The Spanish equivalent of ‘Day of the Dead’ (a Mexican holiday), was faced with a petition with over 21,000 signatories generated in the space of a day.  

The name SEAL Team 6, (the name of the navy team that killed Osama Bin Laden) Disney attempted to register this just two days after the killing and had proposed to use the mark on children’s toys and games??

Written by Rehana Ali 

About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-06-17 14:15:30 in Legal Articles

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