Thursday, 8 July 2010

Vuvuzela trade mark

I read on the IPKat blog that CTM no 4140075 protects the word VUVUZELA, and has done since 2004, although one might question the fact that it's registered for "musical instruments" - a non-use argument there, perhaps ... although it also covers "Games and playthings, toys, sporting articles", not quite the Nice Classification heading in the latter case (the former certainly is) but surely unjustifiably wide considering what the mark is used for. Trade mark owners, and their advisers, should not be able to get away with these sweeping lists of goods and services.
In the case of VUVUZELA, perhaps the issue doesn't arise because it might well have suffered genericide already: the word certainly seems to be used in the trade as well as by ignorant consumers. If that's the case, it's an appropriate if accidental sanction to punish what appears to be an avaricious land-grab by one manufacturer. In any case, according to Wikipedia, it's a descriptive term, meaning "stadium horn" (though it doesn't say in which langauge).

The Kat also points out three more CTM applications for a variety of other goods. Stadium Horn wine? I don't think that's going to fly off the shelves.

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