Trade mark law still varies around the world to an extent that may surprise some brand owners, particularly those venturing overseas for the first time. Take non-traditional marks, for example. Although the legislation of most large jurisdictions permits three-dimensional trade marks that protect distinctive packaging, it can be very hard to win that protection. It took Coca-Cola five years and an appeal to the IP High Court to register its bottle shape in Japan. The JPO is still reluctant to grant 3D marks, with Yakult and Maglite notable exceptions.
Around the rest of Asia, the story is similarly unpredictable. Coca-Cola had its bottle rejected by Thailand's Supreme Court; in China it has had one mark registered but three rejected; India is still pending. The chapters in this year's Trade Marks Yearbook provide guides to several jurisdictions that brand owners often find difficult, including the Philippines, Mexico and Malaysia. But major jurisdictions are highlighted too for their particularities: Canada only began allowing sound marks on March 28 this year, and although it has now registered the roar of MGM's famous lion, Tracy Corneau of BLG in her chapter says they will remain "difficult to obtain and protect".
Tracy's chapter begins on page 16. Like all the other entries in the Yearbook, it is structured as a Q&A guide that aims to provide basic answers to the most fundamental questions about the jurisdiction, such as which marks you can register and how you can enforce them. These Q&As are all drawn from the Managing Trade Marks channel on ManagingIP.com. The channel has separate entries for every jurisdiction and the Q&A articles there are regularly updated, giving subscribers a running reference for local law.
For more information, visit the Managing Trade Marks channel and take a free trial. In the meantime, we hope you find this edition of the Trade Marks Yearbook useful.