+ means a combination of graphics and text in a trademark If the text is not visible, then the entire trademark is considered not visible
A trademark with both graphics and text is represented by '+' If the text is not visible, the entire trademark is considered not visible
Recently, when studying the “Trademark Examination and Trial Guidelines,” I found that there have been changes to the significant examination rules for “trademarks composed of independent words and independent other elements.” First, let’s take a look at the old version of the “Trademark Examination and Trial Standards,” with the example given in the yellow box in the important figure, which could be approved for registration in the past. (Original Trademark Examination and Trial Standards, page 61)
However, in the current “Trademark Examination and Trial Guidelines” (page 236), adjustments have been made to “trademarks composed of independent words and independent other elements. If the word part does not have significant features, the overall lack of significance,” which means that in the future, “graphics + words,” if the words do not have significant features, the overall lack of significance, it will be rejected , and the graphics are not the main focus (with a few exceptions not discussed here).
The conclusion is opposite for the same example under the old and new examination rules. Why is this?
First, let’s look at a trademark, No. 6288786 “Lanzhou Beef Noodle + Graphics” trademark, which has caused many invalidations, lawsuits, and rights protection issues.
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Many people thought that both the graphics and Lanzhou beef noodles were protected, but actually, in the application process, the Lanzhou Beef Noodle Industry Association abandoned the exclusive right to the “Lanzhou Beef Noodle” trademark, which means that only the “graphics” part of this trademark is protected. However, due to the difficulty in finding information about abandoning the Chinese trademark exclusive right, many misunderstandings have arisen, which has also discouraged many people from using the “Lanzhou Beef Noodle” brand. (Source: (2018) Jingxing Final No. 6256 Administrative Judgment)
It is precisely because of frequent occurrences of similar events, and each time it happens, it will have a negative impact. Therefore, the State Intellectual Property Office has made corresponding adjustments.
How to regulate such incidents? Due to the insufficient level hierarchy, the author’s idea is to indicate on all trademark certificates which parts have waived the exclusive right to the trademark or which parts do not have significant characteristics to solve the problem.
Unexpectedly, the official solution is even more thorough, solving all problems from the root, so there will be no misunderstandings! Indeed, standing high and looking far! Cheers to the State Intellectual Property Office!
In the future, for “graphic + text” trademarks, if the text lacks significance, do not try to complain or sue others for using the text as a whole!
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