Getting a Sense of Nontraditional Trademarks

Published: January 14, 2020

Brand & New

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Irene Calboli Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Over the last decades, the domain of trademark law and the scope of trademark protection have grown exponentially, and a wide variety of nontraditional marks, including color, sound, smell, and shape marks, can now be registered in many jurisdictions. However, this continuous extension of trademark protection has led to debate and controversies about the impact of non-traditional marks on fundamental rights, such as freedom of competition and freedom of expression, and also on the intellectual property (IP) system as a whole.

These tensions have led to an increasing number of administrative and judicial decisions across several jurisdictions that address the validity of these marks.

Irene Calboli has analyzed in depth and with an interdisciplinary approach the questions raised by the acceptance of nontraditional trademarks. Based in Singapore, she is Professor of Law at Texas A&M University School of Law, Fort Worth, Texas, USA; fellow at the Transatlantic Technology Law Forum, a joint international initiative of Stanford Law School and the University of Vienna School of Law; a visiting professor at several academic institutions worldwide, and author of articles and books in the area of IP law, including the book The Protection of Non-Traditional Trademarks, Critical Perspectives, written with Martin Senftleben in 2018.

Related Resources


To go further:
About Irene Calboli

Also of Interest:
The Trademark Reporter (May-June 2019)—Acquired Distinctiveness in the European Union: When Nontraditional Marks Meet at (Fragmented) Single Market

INTA Bulletin—Committee Spotlight: Non-Traditional Marks Committee

About Brand & New

Brand & New podcasts from the International Trademark Association

Our hosts discuss compelling business and legal topics relating to intellectual property, innovation, technology, and change with an international roster of influential experts and industry visionaries.

Brand & New guests contribute to this podcast in their personal capacity, and the opinions expressed (or experiences shared) are their own. They do not purport to reflect the views or opinions of INTA or our members.

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