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Argentina: INPI’s resolution regarding tobacco products

In several cases, a trade mark cannot be registered, even when it has sufficient distinctiveness. For example, Section 3 (d) of the Trade Mark Law prohibits the registration of "those marks that are susceptible of inducing error with respect to the nature, properties, virtues, quality, manufacturing techniques, function, origin, price or other characteristics of the products or services to be distinguished".

This provision tends to protect the rights of the consuming public and achieve greater transparency in the market.

It is the case with all such trade marks that are deceptive, that is signs, words, etc that contain untrue indications as to the nature, origin, components and qualities of the products or services, or which attempt to deceive or lead the public into error in any other manner.

In this regard, the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) issued Resolution 191/2014 on August 26 2014 in connection with Law 26,687 passed by the National Congress on June 1 2011, which aims to protect the health of the population from the harmful habit of smoking.

In addition, this law, in Section 13, makes direct reference to the legislated matter in the Trade Mark Law, by establishing the prohibition to use the terms "light", "soft" or "mild", or the phrase "low-nicotine and low-tar", or the like in the trade marks.

It is also noted that even though Law 22,362 contains a prohibition in its Section 3 (d), regarding the introduction in mark signs of elements that may lead the consumer public into error or deception, this prohibition is generic and not specific. INPI by this Resolution determines specifically that marks that in products manufactured with tobacco contain the terms "light", "soft", "mild", or "low-nicotine and low-tar" cannot be registered.

Daniel R Zuccherino

Obligado & Cia

Paraguay 610, 17th Floor
C1057AAH, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tel: +54 11 4114 1100
Fax: +54 11 4311 5675


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