Consumers encounter logos in the form of quality seals in advertising and on product labels on a day-to-day basis. The function of such logos is to inform potential consumers about the beneficial properties of the products. These logos are so widespread that the consumer may not always be able to identify their intended meaning. Despite this, can these logos be safely used as long as they keep their promise and the products are in fact beneficial?
A sign that directly and immediately indicates a particular feature of a product cannot be used as a trademark. However, could a sign be designed to communicate something more by simply adding a graphic?
A ‘brand that speaks for itself’ is the gold standard of brand development. Such a ‘suggestive’ mark communicates its message from the outset, simply, without the need for elaborate content. Very often, however, such brand words consist only of slightly modified descriptions of the products encompassed by the brand – and this can indicate trouble further down the line.
A symbol of a company’s green credentials can attract customers. Under what circumstances could such terms be used in advertising? And can they be protected as a trademark?