sound and video marks

Beyond Words and Logos: Registering Sounds and Video as Trademarks

When you think of trademarks, you most probably think of brand names, logos, or maybe a tagline. And you’re right, these are some of the most common types of trademarks you’ll encounter on a day to day basis. But did you know it’s actually possible to trademark sounds and videos? What this means is that you can technically trademark jingles or fanfares that are associated with your brand. Though this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, it was only in 2019 that the UKIPO (United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office) granted its (and the world’s) first multimedia mark to Toshiba. 

This signalled a development in the law to accommodate the fact that brands nowadays are more than just their logo or tagline – they’re multimedia. In this article, we’ll give you a brief explanation of why to register your sound mark and how to go about it. 

Is it important to register a sound mark?

Absolutely. A sound can be as or even more memorable than a logo or tagline. It can become synonymous with your brand, meaning it’s an invaluable asset to your business. For this reason, it’s important to take the appropriate steps to protect and take legal ownership of your multimedia branded assets such as sounds or jingles. 

How can I register a sound mark?

Registering a sound mark is much the same as registering what we would consider a more ‘traditional’ trademark such as a logo or words. As per the government’s manual, sounds can be regarded as trademarks as long as they ‘fulfil the requirements of being represented graphically on the application form.’ In practical terms, this means they must be translated into musical stave. 

You can learn more about the exact process of registering a UK trademark in our article. 

Remember, there are certain rules about what your trademark can or can’t be. For instance, if it is offensive (ie containing swear words) or misleading, you will be unable to register it. 

How can I register a video mark?

For moving images, again the actual bureaucratic process will be the same as registering any other type of trademark. However, videos must fulfil the Sieckmann criteria which means that the representation of them on the application is ‘clear, precise, self-contained, easily accessible, intelligible, durable and objective.’ 

You can apply for your movement marks using a series of still images, but you must stipulate that it is a moving image, and explain what the image depicts (so how it changes in the course of the video), how many images are involved in the whole movement, and what the sequential order of the images is. 

Registering a trademark in the UK 

Registering a trademark is key to protecting your brand and ensuring the work you’ve put into building a strong and identifiable brand identity is future-proofed against potential competition. If you need legal support in registering your trademark or want to find out more about our trademark watch service, get in touch. 

Have any questions?

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