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Intellectual Property Bulletin

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COLOMBIA

TRADEMARK REGISTRATION DENIAL ON THE GROUNDS OF LACK OF DISTINCTIVENESS

The Colombian Trademark Office denied registration for a figurative trademark consisting on the representation of the caduceus applied in classes 3, 5 and 10, arguing that it lacked the required distinctiveness to be registered.

 

The caduceus is a symbol of commerce which is also used by economic sciences teaching and research institutions, several of them use it as its emblem. In some countries it is incorrectly used as a symbol of medicine since its design is similar to the rod of Asclepius.

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Upon issuing Resolution No. 57512, the Deputy Superintendent for Industrial Property Matters decided the appeal filed by the applicant confirming the denial decision rendered in first instance (Resolution No. 13303), considering that the applied trademark lacked the intrinsic distinctive strength to enable consumers to associate it with a specific business origin. The examiner also reiterated that registration abroad does not imply that trademark rights must be extended in other countries or that other National Trademark Offices must necessarily grant a trademark’s registration.

Lack of distinctiveness is a cause of non-registrability of trademarks set forth in literal b) of article 135 of Decision 486 of the Andean Community Commission.