Famous / Well Known Marks

What Is A Famous Or Well-Known Mark?

A famous or well-known mark is a trademark that, in view of its widespread reputation or recognition, may enjoy broader protection than an ordinary mark.

Our Position

We support the effective enforcement of well-known marks worldwide and are committed to assisting governments in meeting their international treaty obligations to protect famous and well-known marks.

International Standards of Protection for Well-Known Marks

The Paris Convention (Article 6bis) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) (Article 16) establish the international standards of protection for famous and well-known marks. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) issued its Joint Recommendation on Well-Known Marks to provide a worldwide standard for implementing the requirements under the Paris Convention and the TRIPS Agreement. We firmly support this Recommendation and strongly encourage the adoption of its provisions.

Well-Known Mark Registries

International trademark treaties obligate national governments to provide well-known marks with enhanced protection. We recognize that the laws of different jurisdictions may lend themselves to different approaches in protecting well-known marks, and some jurisdictions are electing to meet these international obligations by establishing a well-known mark registry. Governments have little experience with the operation of well-known mark registries, and there are no established international guidelines as to the creation and maintenance of such registries.

We’ve developed a set of policies that we recommend to governments electing to establish well-known mark registries. Such registries should be designed and operated in a manner that affords legal certainty concerning rights in well-known marks and should apply the principles of the WIPO provisions for the protection of well-known marks.

If you want to learn more about Famous / Well Known Marks, contact Member Operations.