What marks can’t be registered as a trademark?

What marks can’t be registered as a trademark?

Some marks cannot be registered (subject to exceptions). These include:

  • Names and surnames (e.g. John Doe) of someone who is living or has died within thirty years
  • Marks that describe your goods/services (e.g. you can’t trademark “Apple” in relation to the sale of apples, but Apple was able to trademark the mark in relation to the sale of iPhones)
  • Marks that misdescribe your goods/services
  • Words that represent geographical places of origin
  • Words in other languages of the goods/services that you are offering
  • Words or designs that could be confused with an already registered or pending trademark
  • Words or designs that look very similar to a prohibited mark

Generally, marks are prohibited from being registrable if it would unfairly prohibit others with a similar product and/or service from branding their company in the same or similar manner.  

Did this answer your question? Thanks for the feedback There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again later.