Marchi musicali: difficile registrarli!

Marcel Pemsel in IPKat  ci notizia di una decisione di appello dell’Ufficio europeo sulla registrazione (che viene negata, confermando il 1 grado) di un jingle sonoro di due secondi (ascoltabile qui): 5° BoA EUIPO 02.04.2024, Case R 2220/2023-5, Berliner Verkehrsunternehmen (BVG), (trad. inglese automatica, orig. tedesco)

<<18 The sign applied for is a sound sign of two seconds, which consists only of a simple sequence of four different perceptible sounds. The applicant’s argument that the sound mark consisted of many different sounds that were played at the same time by several votes is incorrect in this respect. The sign is so short that only four sounds are perceived.
19. The sign applied for is so short and commonplace that it has no resonance or a certain recognition value that would enable the targeted consumers to regard it as an indication of origin and not merely as a functional element or as a reference without message.
20. It is a generally known fact, which is argued both by the examiner and by the applicant, that a short sound  sequence is usually played before loudspeaker messages in relation to information on means of transport, so that travellers direct their attention to the following message. Normally, these announcements take place in environments with many different sounds, which means that it is not easy for the pushchair to distinguish the message from other background sounds. Loudspeaker messages, which are initiated by a Jtelevisions, become part of transport; Passenger transport in Class 39, that is to say, for example, at airport maintenance halls, on traction and bus transport. If the relevant consumer heard the sound sign applied for before passing through a loudspeaker, he will not associate it with a particular undertaking without familiarisation and will simply perceive it as a sound which is intended to attract the attention of the reader and direct it to the subsequent loudspeaker diffusers. It is therefore a sound sign that simply has a functional task, namely to announce or causes a loudspeaker penetration.
21. Also in relation to the services packaging of goods; Storage of goods; The sign applied for is not capable of performing its main function as an indication of commercial origin. If the trade circles targeted come into contact with this very short and simple sound sequence in connection with these services, they will at most assume that the sound refers to certain aspects of the service (e.g. the beginning of an announcement) or is used in advertising for
these services. The sign is therefore devoid of distinctive character within the meaning of Article 7(1)(b) EUTMR in relation to all the services applied for in Class 39>>.

Effettivamente, oltre ad essere brevissimo, è pure un suono banale.

Sulla (in-)validità di marchio sonoro

Anna Maria Stein in IPKat segnala una decisione dell’ufficio di Alicante che rigetta la domanda di registrazine di marchio musicale (la canzone per bimbi “Johnny Johnny Yes Papa”)

Si tratta di 15.06.2023, applicat. n° 018713855, Mora TV srl (testo inglese automat. trad. qui)

Le ragioni del rigetto attengono alla carenza di distintività; ne è interessante l’applicaizone ai marchi musicali (riporto la sintesi di Anna Maria Stein, ove trovi pure un paio di precedenti amministrativi):

<<a) Length of the sound mark

Although the length of a sound mark does not disqualify it from being considered as an indicator of origin, and the EUTMR is silent in this regard, the EUIPO’s examination guidelines specify the types of sound marks that are not likely to be accepted without proof of acquired distinctiveness, including sounds which are too long to be considered as an indication of origin and sounds which are usually associated with certain goods and services.

b) Lack of easily identifiable and recognisable melodic structure

The sign does not contain an easily identifiable and quickly recognisable melodic structure since it begins with a simple, repetitive motif, which is then accompanied by a few basic tones and sounds, typical of music played in cartoons, movies or songs with lyrics for babies or children. Thus, it does not contain any relevant melodic moment/structure that would allow the public to clearly identify it as a brand, and consequently lacks the ability to function as an identifier of commercial origin.

d) The sound trade mark does not identify the commercial origin of goods or services

Consumers are not in the habit of making assumptions about the origin of products or services in the absence of any graphic or verbal element, because, in general, a sound in itself is not commonly used in any field of commercial practice as a means of identification. However, marketing habits in an economic sector are not fixed and can evolve in a very dynamic way, including through the use of sound trade marks.

When a sound mark consists of non-distinctive/descriptive/generic verbal elements pronounced in a clear manner and without striking or unusual sound elements, the sound mark will be considered non-distinctive.

The trade mark at issue here contains several phrases taken from a song that is very popular throughout the world and for which there are numerous versions and videos that can easily be found on the internet.

e) No acquired distinctive character

According to the EUIPO, the applicant did not submit any opinion polls/surveys or depositions, nor did it provide details of turnover and sales figures or any document regarding investment in advertising and efforts made to promote the brand.

Thus, it was not possible to establish the market share regarding the objected products and services, the intensity, geographical extent and duration of the use of the sound trade mark, or the proportion of the relevant public that identifies the origin of the products and services, before the filing date of the application>>.

Si v. il Chapter 3, § 14 Sound marks, Sect 4 – part B Examination, p. 452 ss, delle Guidelines EUIPO, vers. 1.0, 31 marzo 2023.