Registrability of Non-Conventional Trademarks: Position in India, United States & European Union

Keerthi Depa


In the realm of Intellectual Property, the registration system for trademarks primarily favours marks that can be graphically represented, constituting what are known as conventional trademarks. On the other hand, non-conventional trademarks are characterized with the help of sensory perception.2 The Indian Trademarks Act of 1999 does not explicitly mention non-conventional trademarks, and this favourable treatment towards conventional trademarks is reflecting on the lack of legal backing for registration in the subject matter of non-conventional trademarks. This situation poses a threat to businesses striving to establish and maintain brand recognition, value, goodwill and ultimately their aim to aid consumers in easily identifying or recalling their brands. Against a backdrop of increased competition and technological advancements, various entities and brands struggle with the ambiguity and lack of uniformity in the existing legal framework for registration of non-conventional trademarks. Although the Indian judiciary has, over the years, contributed to shaping the legal landscape for non-conventional trademarks through noteworthy judgments, challenges persist in the registration and enforcement of such trademarks. This paper aims to delineate the distinction between conventional and non-conventional trademarks, while analysing the historical background and the current status of non-conventional trademark registration in India by drawing inferences from the practices in the European Union and the United States. Furthermore, this paper seeks to shed light on the topic and provide insights into the way forward.

Key Words:Non-conventional Trademarks, Graphical Representation, India, EU, US

Recommended Citation

Keerthi Depa, ‘Registrability of Non-Conventional Trademarks in India, United States and European Union’ (2023) 1(1) OUJIPR, 132 accessed [date] Available at:

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