8. Composite trade marks - combinations of shapes, colours, words etc

Date Published

A trade mark may consist of a combination of any of the signs discussed earlier in this Part, as well as any of those signs combined with words or devices.  The same principles apply to these composite marks as apply to any other trade mark - whether the trade mark as a whole is adapted to distinguish the applicant's goods from those of other traders.  

These kinds of trade marks are more likely to be prima facie adapted to distinguish because the composite trade mark, taken as a whole, consists of more than the sum of the individual parts.  The following example of a description for a trade mark to be used on wines in class 33 demonstrates a trade mark of this type:

The trade mark consists of a combination of the word RED, the colour blue, and the shape of a wine bottle, as shown in the representations attached to the application form.

An example of a composite trade mark which is not prima facie adapted to distinguish goods in class 33 is the following:  

The trade mark consists of a combination of the shape of a wine bottle and the colour green, as shown in the representation attached to the application form.

As a great proportion of wine bottles are green, this claim is unlikely, on the face of it, to be adapted to distinguish.  However, if the bottle itself has an unusual shape, or includes decoration on the glass, even decorations common to the trade such as vine leaves or grape bunches, then the trade mark moves closer to being capable of distinguishing.

Another type of combination mark may be a claim for an aspect of packaging where the mark claimed involves a combination of features including shapes, words and colours.  The same considerations apply to this kind of trade mark as to any combination mark.  The combination as a whole is more likely to be adapted to distinguish, where the individual components are not.  The following is an example of a description of this kind of trade mark:

The trade mark is an aspect of packaging.  It consists of the shape of a box, with semi circular holes cut in three sides, each hole filled in with red coloured transparent film printed with the words CHOCOLAT DE PARIS, as shown in the representations attached to the application form.