Are you wondering whether you can register a trademark consisting of 1 or 2 letters? The answer is yes.
Trademarks consisting of 1 or 2 letters are valid and it is not correct to say that that they are devoid of distinctive character or descriptive because of their “shortness”.
Trademark consisting of 2 letters: the case HP
The General Court, with two judgments of 24 April 2018, (case T-207/17 and case T-208/17) confirmed the decisions issued by EUIPO, which rejected the application for the invalidity of the UE trademark n. 008579021 (classes 2, 7, 9 16, 35 to 38 and 40 to 42) and of the EU word mark HP n. 0052449 (classes 2, 9, 16, 20, 35-39, 41 and 42), filed by the Polish company “Senetic SA”, on the assumption of an alleged descriptiveness and lack of distinctiveness of the two brands.
“Senetic SA” claimed that, since the contested marks consisted of two simple letters, they were to be considered descriptive of technological products and services.
The Board of Appeal of EUIPO, when dismissed the appeal, specified that:
“It could not be generally stated that a mark lacks distinctiveness because it consists of one or two letters, without examining the specific relationship between the sign and the goods and services in question”.
The General Court, after having agreed the decision of the Board of Appeal, specifies that article 4 of Regulation No 207/2009 (now regulation n. 2017/1001) expressly states that an EU trademark may consist of “any sign…including letters” and that arguing that the mark consisting of one or two letters is descriptive in itself is in contrast with this article. Furthermore, in this specific case, the General Court notes that it is possible that the HP sign be understood by the relevant public as a reference to the names Hewlett and Packard, the surnames of the company founders.
The General Court, moreover (paragraph 30, case T-207/17) specifies that
“the criteria for assessing the distinctive nature of marks consisting in one or two letters are the same as those that apply to other categories of marks”
(see, by analogy, judgment of 29 April 2009, BORCO-Marken-Import Matthiesen v OHIM, T-23/07, EU:T:2009:126, paragraph 46)
If you want to file a trademark application consisting of 1 or 2 letters, Eva Troiani law firm is at your disposal to offer you all the necessary advice in order to obtain registration.
Before filing the application, the firm will assist you in the fundamental phase of the trademark search, performed in order to verify the existence of earlier marks that may hinder the use and registration of your trademark. Contact us for more information.