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Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual Property Law (6th edn)

Lionel Bently, Brad Sherman, Dev Gangjee, and Phillip Johnson
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date: 24 May 2024

p. 98737. Absolute Grounds for Refusallocked

p. 98737. Absolute Grounds for Refusallocked

  • L. Bently,
  • B. Sherman,
  • D. Gangjee
  •  and P. Johnson


This chapter examines the ‘absolute’ grounds for refusing to register a trade mark as set out in section 3 of the Trade Marks Act 1994. It first looks at the reasons for denying an application for trade mark registration before analysing the absolute grounds for refusal, which can be grouped into three general categories: whether the sign falls within the statutory definition of a trade mark found in sections 1(1) and 3(1)(a) and (2) of the Trade Marks Act 1994; whether trade marks are non-distinctive, descriptive, and generic; and whether trade marks are contrary to public policy or morality, likely to deceive the public, or prohibited by law, or if the application was made in bad faith. Provisions for specially protected emblems are also considered.

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