EU Trademark Office Proclaims Black and White Are No Longer Colors

As OHIM announces three primary changes to the treatment of trademarks in color, trademark owners should review their marks to ensure adequate protection.

The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), which is responsible for Community trademark and design registrations throughout the European Union, announced a new common practice changing the treatment of black and white trademarks that will be implemented in the near future (implementation dates vary by office). Moving forward, trademarks filed solely in black and white (or greyscale) will be considered identical to a mark in color only if the color differences are insignificant. Further, the use of a mark in color will only support a registration for a black and white trademark if the color does not alter the “distinctive character” of the mark. Accordingly, trademark owners and applicants in the EU should examine their current registrations and actual uses of their marks to ensure those marks are fully protected.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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