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What cannot be the object of a trademark?

The law establishes a series of limitations:

  • Signs that are not distinctive enough to be distinguishable, for example, a dot or a line without another characterising element, as it would be hard for these to be perceived as a "trademark" by the consumer.
  • Generic and specific signs, for example chocolate to distinguish "chocolate", those that are composed exclusively of signs that in trade or in normal language have become a required or habitual designation of a certain product or service, for example, "spring rolls" to distinguish food products.
  • Descriptive signs: those which are composed exclusively of signs or indications that serve within the retail trade to designate the species, quality, destination, value, geographical origin, production season of a product or the provision of a service or other features of the products or of the service, for example, "select edition" or "May strawberries".
  • Misleading signs, for example, “Oleoliva” to distinguish other types of oil and edible fats.
  • Unlawful signs or signs that contravene public order, for example, any xenophobic or sexist trademark.
  • Forms that are imposed for technical reasons or by the nature of the product or that affect their intrinsic value, for example, the picture of a satellite dish to distinguish satellite dishes or that of a car windscreen wiper for windscreen wipers, or the picture of a pencil with no decorative or distinguishing features.
  • Denominations of origin, geographical indications, traditional terms of wines or traditional specialties guaranteed that are protected by laws that prevent their registration, and the name of plant varieties in some specific cases.
  • Certain legally protected signs such as flags and coats of arms belonging to states, autonomous regions, etc.

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