The Trade Mark Registration System does its best to keep up with technological trends but inevitably there is a lag between regulation and innovation. Once such example is online resellers of goods who have adopted a policy of requiring verification of registration of a trade mark before they will permit a seller to sell products on their platforms. In this instance, having the word mark registered is advantageous and sometimes essential. However, branding covers so much more than the word element of a mark. It covers the look, feel and appearance of the trade mark in terms of stylisation, logo elements, even elements such as the colour, sound or moving parts.
Recent developments in legislation mean that non-traditional trade marks can now be protected if they can be captured electronically. By way of example, a moving image can be protected by the filing of an electronic file showing the image in all its stages. A sound can be protected by filing an electronic file of the sound, and colours can be protected, in certain circumstances, by filing of information by reference to an international colour code such as Pantone. Smells are still proving more of a challenge but no doubt technology will come to our aid on this in due course.