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Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual Property Law (1st edn)

Stavroula Karapapa and Luke McDonagh
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date: 24 May 2024

p. 25011. Absolute grounds for refusal of registrationlocked

p. 25011. Absolute grounds for refusal of registrationlocked

  • Stavroula KarapapaStavroula KarapapaProfessor of Intellectual Property and Information Law, University of Reading
  •  and Luke McDonaghLuke McDonaghSenior Lecturer in Law, City, University of London


This chapter examines the absolute grounds for refusal of trade marks from registrability, which are found in s. 3 of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (TMA). The chapter lists objections to registrability based on the mark's own characteristics. To be refused registration, the mark should possess some innate quality which prevents registration. For instance, the mark applied for may be descriptive, generic, or it may lack distinctiveness. Marks that go against public policy or marks that are immoral will also be refused protection. The TMA also contains a number of negative objections in contrast to its predecessor, which required an applicant to show that the mark applied for was positively entitled to registration.

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