New Forms of Trademarks – “Sensual” Intellectual Property Rights for Cosmetics

A. Seifert, J. Wortmann

Trademarks reflect our lifestyle like no other intellectual property right. Traditional trademarks in the form of words, pictures, three-dimensional forms and colors today still enjoy great popularity in the field of cosmetics, detergents and cleaners. However, in times when manufacturers and traders offer a plethora of products and the brand awareness of the customer increases, also the demand for signs with high prestige and recognition value will increase. Since 1 October 2017 European trademark applications and since 14 January 2019 national German trademark applications no longer have to be capable of graphic representation. As a result, new forms of trademarks open imaginative possibilities for companies to assign the goods and services they offer to their company. However, this liberalization does not cover all potentially interesting forms of trademarks. In particular, olfactory marks are still excluded from registration because the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) as well as the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA, Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt) both take the position that a smell cannot be clearly and unambiguously identified with currently available technology. In this article, we report which additional forms of trademarks are now available and how they can be used effectively in the field of cosmetics, detergents and cleaning agents.


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