Absolute obstacle to protection

A absolute obstacle to protection in trademark law refers to certain circumstances or characteristics that prevent the registration of a trademark from the outset, regardless of the actual use or reputation of the trademark. If a trademark is subject to an absolute ground for refusal, it is not considered registrable from the outset.

There are different types of absolute grounds for refusal, which can vary depending on the legal system. Some common examples are:

  1. Missing Distinctive character: If a trademark is too descriptive or general and does not have sufficient Distinctive character this is an absolute obstacle to protection. After all, trademarks are intended to distinguish products or services from others.
  2. Descriptive features: If a trademark consists of terms or elements that describe the nature, quality, intended purpose, value or other characteristics of the products or services, this may constitute an absolute bar to protection.
  3. Need to keep free: If a trademark consists of signs or terms that are of general interest and should be used by different companies for similar products or services, this can lead to a requirement of availability and constitute an absolute ground for refusal.
  4. Violation of public order or morality: Trademarks that are contrary to public order or morality may also be deemed ineligible for registration.
  5. Deceptive or misleading signs: Trademarks that could mislead or deceive consumers may constitute an absolute bar to protection due to their deceptive nature.

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