• Posts by Dorothy Whitney

    Dorothy Whitney is mainly involved in supervising worldwide trademark registration programs for major corporations and in counseling and representing clients regarding trademark, licensing, and domain name issues and in ...

Musical notation showing a treble clef, 4/4 time, and three notes—a quarter note C, a lower  quarter note G, and a higher half note G

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.

Tempting as it may be to adopt a trademark that is the common name for your product, that may not be the best idea because you cannot prevent others from using a word, or a combination of words, that consumers regard as a product name rather than as an indicator of its source.

The Swiss watch maker Wenger S.A. showed how close to the line you can come and still have protectable rights.  It sought to register SWISS MILITARY, which it had used since 1989, as its trademark for “watches of Swiss origin.”

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