I.Protect: Sound as trademark

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Thursday, July 3, 2014


Clint Fabiosa & Ana Liza Villamor

OUR Intellectual Property Code defines a trademark as any visible sign capable of distinguishing the goods (trademark) or services (service mark) of an enterprise. This means that in the Philippines, invisible things cannot be registered as trademarks. In some countries like the United States, sound may be registered as a trademark.

Some famous “sound trademarks” in the US are: 1) the TV station National Broadcasting Company (NBC) registered its station ID which consists of “3 chime-like notes” to identify its broadcasting services; and 2) movie studio MGM registered its lion’s roar which opens its movies. Harley Davidson attempted to register the sound of its revving engine but failed when other companies pointed out that their engines sound the same as Harley Davidson’s. If our Intellectual Property Code is amended to cover the registration of sound trademarks, the MTRCB should register its distinctive 5-note ID which precedes the showing of movies and television shows.

(clint.fabiosa@iprotect.ph / analiza.villamor@iprotect.ph)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 04, 2014.

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