Sound Trademark in India
Sound Trademark in India
A sound, represented by a series of musical notes with or without words can be trademarked in India. Sound trademarks are very popular in the US and the awareness about sound trademark is fast raising in India. In this article, we look at the basics of sound trademark in India and examples of popular sound trademarks from across the world.
Sound Trademark or Sound Mark
Sound represented graphically by a series of musical notes with or without words can receive protection under the Trademark Act in India. The according of registration of a sound under the Trademark Act will depend on if the sound is or has become a distinctive sign associated with one undertaking. Hence, for a sound trademark to be registered, it is important for the average consumer to perceive the sound as belonging to a service or product associated with one enterprise.
Examples of Sound Trademarks
The following are examples of sound trademarks that are registered in the USA:
MGM Entertainment – Roaring Lion
The sound of the roaring lion in the MGM Entertainment introduction video is a registered trademark.
Twentieth Century Fox – Drums + Trumpets +Strings
Time Warner Entertainment – Looney Tunes Theme
Sound Trade Mark Registration
The law does not explicitly exclude “sound marks” from registration. However, the registration of sound marks are very rare. All trademark applications for sound marks must:
- Clearly state that they are sound marks. Otherwise the application will be considered as if it were a word and/or device mark (e.g. in the case of musical notation);
- Sound must be represented with graphic representation of the sign by a musical stave divided into measures and showing, in particular, a clef, musical notes and rests, indicating relative value, and sharps, flats and naturals (accidentals).
The registration of a sound mark, like words or other types of trademarks, depend upon whether the sound is or has become a distinctive mar. Hence, it is important for the applicant to prove with evidence that the average consumer will perceive the sound as meaning that the goods or services are exclusively associated with the applicant’s enterprise.
The following sounds may not be accepted for registration as trademarks since these are incapable of distinguishing goods or services of one person from those of others-
- Very simple pieces of music consisting only of only I or 2 notes;
- Songs commonly used as chimes;
- Well known popular music in respect of entertainment services, park services;
- Childrens nursery rhymes, for goods or services aimed at children;
- Music strongly associated with particular regions or countries for the type of goods/services originating from or provided in that area.
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