What may be regarded as a prohibited sign varies between jurisdictions.

What kinds of trademarks cannot be protected (prohibited signs)?: There are a number of international treaties that mention protected emblems and symbols that can not be included in a trademark, which oblige the local trademark office in countries that are party to such treaties to refuse trademark applications that include them. Furthermore, in certain cases where a trademark, including a protected symbol, may have been registered, the trademark may be invalidated.

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, first signed on 20 March 1883, together with its numerous revisions, sets out the following elements as prohibited signs:

Armorial Bearings

– Flags

– State Emblems

– Official Signs

– Hallmarks

– Abbreviations and Names of International Intergovernmental Organizations

The Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol, adopted on 26 September 1981, sets out the following elements as prohibited signs:

-Olympic symbol, sir. The Treaty defines the Olympic symbol as consisting of five interlaced rings: blue, yellow, black, green, and red, arranged in that order from left to right. It consists of Olympic rings on its own, whether delineated in a single color or in different colors.

Protocol III of the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 on the adoption of an additional distinctive emblem of 8 December 2005 sets out the following elements as prohibited signs:

-The Red Cross

-The Red Emblem

-The Red Lion and the Sun

-Red Crystal (for certain purposes)

Please bear in mind that the prohibitions referred to above may vary in the severity of their interpretation between jurisdictions. In addition, other signs to be considered prohibited may be included in local legislation.

For these reasons, before proceeding with the filing of your application for registration of a trademark, we strongly recommend that notification of registration of a trademark be made. This will give you an idea of the probabilities of registration, potentially saving you time and money.