A non-English language mark may preclude U.S. registration of an English mark having the same meaning, as we previously wrote. But this “doctrine of foreign equivalents” is a guideline, not an absolute rule. It may not apply to a combination mark having an English component in addition to its non-English component.
There have been few applications to register a sound as a trademark for goods (as distinguished from a mark for services). In a precedential case, Duracell U.S. Operations, Inc. (“Duracell”) was successful in registering three musical notes, played at the end of announcements over retail store sound systems, as a trademark for batteries.