29 October 2014

Intellectual Property Rights 101

Most people get confused over all the different categories of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and give up trying to understand it, much less try to apply for it. Then there are also those who lump IPR as one whole category and figured that it would be too costly and time consuming to protect this Intellectual Property thing.

But don't worry, we are here to save the day.

After much information consolidation, here's a simple infograph that explains the different types of IPR.

Not wise to trademark like these big guys

Trademarking your brand, be it logo, colors, or even scent is important, as your brand distinguishes your products from other traders. But how do we know that it is not taken too far? In this case, Tesco Stores Limited attempted a very simple mark, an example of when it might be taking trademarking a bit too far.


So basically, they've registration for their brand name (EU000388223):

They've also trademarked their logo (EU003016458):

In 2013, they filed an application for the blue dashes (UK00003000786) which was rejected by the UK examiner:

As eloquently explained by our head honcho director, Edward;

This is yet another attempt by big corporations with deep pockets to try their luck on obtaining registration for signs which are generic and have very wide scope of rights.  It is trite law that a sign has to be distinctive in order to be registrable.  I liken the application for the ”blue dashes” to filing an application for a hashtag symbol or an underline, a generic sign which is a common expression of everyday usage and therefore inherently incapable of distinguishing the goods of one trader from another.  It is not difficult to see why the UK examiners are very reluctant to allow any single trader to monopolise use of such signs in commerce.

To sum up, don't try to trademark something that is too general, like dashes or exclamation marks.