What elements can be used as trademarks?
Trademarks play a vital role in identifying the origin of a product through sensory perception, particularly sight. The TRIPS Agreement allows member countries to require visually perceptible signs for registration as trademarks. These signs may include words, letters, numerals, figurative elements, and colors. Some countries and territories, including the EU, China, and the U.S., also permit the registration of three-dimensional (3D) signs as trademarks, such as the Coca-Cola bottle, Ferrero Rocher chocolate trade dress, and Zippo lighter shape. However, the examination process for 3D trademarks is often stricter and requires demonstrating long-term use and acquired distinctiveness. Sound trademarks, such as the lion's roar at the beginning of MGM films and Motorola's "Hello Moto" sound, have become increasingly popular, as they offer unique psychological cues to consumers. Some countries, including China, the EU and its member states, and the U.S., have recognized sound trademarks. Scent trademarks are rare but do exist, with OSEWEZ's plumeria blossom-scented embroidery thread being an example approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1990.