Any sign that is capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of another will qualify for registration as an Irish or UK Trade Mark.
Irish and UK applications are all examined on absolute grounds and registration will be refused if the trade mark fails to satisfy the relevant criteria for registration. Irish trade mark applications are also examined on relative grounds, and registration will be refused if a later trade mark conflicts with an earlier Irish, Community or international trade mark protected in the Republic of Ireland. UK applications are not subject to a relative grounds examination.
Registration will be refused if the trade mark:
- Is devoid of any distinctive character
- Consists exclusively of signs or indications that may serve, in trade, to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin, the time of production of goods or of rendering of services, or other characteristic of the goods or services
- Consists exclusively of signs or indications which have become customary in the current language or in the bone fide and established practices of the trade
- Consists exclusively of the shape of goods that results from the nature of the goods themselves
- Consists exclusively of the shape of goods that is necessary to obtain a technical result
- Consists exclusively of a shape that gives substantial value to the goods
- Is contrary to public policy or accepted principles of morality
- Is of such a nature as to deceive the public, for instance as to the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods and services
- Consists of any state, national or other protected emblem.
Registration will also be refused if:
- The application for registration has been made in bad faith
- Use of the trade mark is prohibited in the State by an enactment or rule of law or by any provision of Community law.