Until recently, brand protection for these types of sounds was not possible. This was because the law required you to always add a ‘graphical representation’ when registering a trademark. No registration without a picture. As a result, a lot of signs that function as trademarks but are not or difficult to capture in an image, could not be registered. Most sound marks also suffered as a result.


But fortunately, that time is over. The requirement of graphical representation has been removed from the law and the trademark authorities have created the possibility to register a digital file as a trademark instead of a graphical representation. And so the branding path is finally open not only for Coolblue, but also for the tune that the LG washer sounds when it’s ready (every LG owner recognises it immediately). This sound has also recently been registered as a European trademark.


However, the new possibilities for trademark protection of sounds are not unlimited. For example, Netflix recently ran into a refusal when the company tried to register its fairly well-known opening sound as a European trademark. Not sufficiently distinctive according to the European Trademarks Office. So the boundaries are vague and subtle: Coolblue gets its trademark but Netflix does not.


Chiever is a specialist in the field of registration of these types of new trademarks. Recently, we have increasingly been advising our customers on the protection of signs that, until recently, could never be claimed under trademark law. In addition to sounds, think of moving brands (animations), holograms or multimedia trademarks (combination of image and sound). In the upcoming Chiever Newsflashes, we will show you more examples of these kinds of distinctive ‘new’ brands.

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