According to the Indian Intellectual Property Act of 1999, a trademark is a distinctive image,
phrase, word, or emblem enacted to assist consumers between the products and services already
available on the market and prevent misunderstanding. As a result, it is easier to identify and link
certain items and services already registered.
WHAT ARE NON- CONVENTIONAL TRADEMARKS?
Non-Conventional Trademarks are distinct from traditional one that helps to identify using words
or symbols. Non-traditional trademarks can be composed of sounds, smells, colours, shapes,
motions, or gestures. For instance, it comprises the design of Coca-Cola bottles and the red
colour that Kit Kat uses to represent their product. They do not fall under the traditional
trademark category but instead have a distinctive way of standing out in the market, and because
of that registration is quite challenging.
TYPES OF NON- CONVENTIONAL TRADEMARKS
There are several types of Non-Conventional Trademarks, including:
Sound Marks: The Trademarks that consist of a specific sound or combination of
sounds, such as the NBC chimes or the MGM lion’s roar.
Colour Marks: The Trademarks that consist of a particular colour or combination of
colours, such as the distinctive shade of brown used by UPS or the red soles of Christian
Shape Marks: The Trademarks that consist of a unique shape or design, such as the
Coca-Cola bottle or the Tolerance chocolate bar shape.
Motion Marks: The Trademarks that involve a specific movement or animation, such as
the bouncing lamp in the Pixar logo or the moving stripes in the NBC peacock logo.
Hologram Marks: The Trademarks that involve the case of a holographic image, such as
the hologram on Visa credit cards or the holographic labels on some products.
Smell Marks: The Trademarks that consist of a particular scent or smell, such as the
scent of Play-Doh or the fragrance of a Yankee Candle.
Taste Marks: The Trademarks that consist of a specific taste or flavour, such as the
flavour of Dr Pepper soda or the taste of a McDonald’s Big Mac.
1. In Nitin P. Jain v. Titan Industries Ltd, a lawsuit involved the trademark registration of
a watch's design, notably the Titan Octane watch. The court determined that the watch's
design qualified for trademark protection since it was distinctive and had taken on a
secondary meaning in consumers' imaginations.
2. In Colgate Palmolive Co. v. Anchor Health & Beauty Care Pvt. Ltd., a case from
2014, the registration of a toothpaste product's scent mark was in question. The
toothpaste's combination of spearmint and peppermint flavours might set it apart from
other companies, and it may therefore register as a trademark.
In conclusion, non-conventional trademarks provide a unique and creative way for companies to
differentiate their products and services from competitors. These, such as Sound marks, colour
marks, shape marks, motion marks, hologram marks, smell marks, and taste marks, can create a
distinctive brand identity that helps consumers recognize and associate products or services with
a particular company or brand.
However, there are also potential negative impacts associated with non-conventional trademarks,
including dilemmas in accurately describing and identifying them, the potential to limit
competition and innovation, and the risk of creating brand monopolies.
Despite these obstacles, the law governing non-conventional trademarks is developing and has
found some significant cases that have assisted in creating legal precedents and offering direction
for businesses attempting to register and protect non-conventional marks.
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