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The Future Of 3D Trademarks

The Future Of 3D Trademarks

3D trademarks are a rather new type of Intellectual Property. In many countries of the world, it is still impossible to file a 3D trademark; however, even in the countries where it is possible, the 3D trademarks are often misused.

3D trademarks, also known as three-dimensional trademarks, are distinctive signs that consist of a three-dimensional shape or design that serves to identify and distinguish the goods or services of one company from those of others in the marketplace. Unlike traditional two-dimensional trademarks, which typically consist of words, logos, or symbols, 3D trademarks may be represented in three-dimensional forms such as the shape of a product, its packaging, or its overall appearance.

Some trademark owners try to file a shape of their product as a 3D trademark instead of filing it as an industrial design.Trademarks, unlike patents, have unlimited term of protection (renewable periods of 10 years) and the industrial design is protected for up to 15 years (periods of 5 years), after which the design cannot be renewed.

3D Trademark can be used to limit competition

It is very desirable for the applicants to have the shape of their product protected permanently and prevent others from producing similar products. Therefore, some applicants try to claim that the design of their product is in fact a 3D trademark.

This is obviously a misuse, since these trademarks may be used to limit competition and industrial designs and 3D trademarks should not overlap, these are different types of IP. Even big companies, like Nestle, sometimes file arguable trademarks (the case of Kit-Kat in the EU) and there were several similar cases. Because of this, the Trademark Offices now apply stricter requirements to the 3D trademarks.

Examples of 3D trademarks include the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle, and the contours of a Toblerone chocolate bar. These trademarks are often used to provide an additional level of protection for product designs and branding, and can help to create a unique and recognizable visual identity for a company's products or services.

If your 3D trademark is a version of your logo and is not connected with the shape of your product, it can be accepted. However, if it the TM is a shape of your product, we do not recommend filing.

How to register a 3D trademark?

To obtain protection for a 3D trademark, the owner must register it with the appropriate trademark office, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The registration process typically involves demonstrating that the 3D trademark is distinctive and non-functional, meaning that it is not essential to the product's use or purpose. Once registered, the 3D trademark is protected against unauthorized use by others and may be enforced through legal action.

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