Decorative use

The decorative use in trademark law refers to the use of trademarks or trademark elements on products where the trademarks are not used to identify the origin or source of the products or services ("Trademark use"), but rather fulfill a decorative or aesthetic purpose.

In certain cases, the use of trademarks on products or in promotional materials may be purely decorative and not intended to provide consumers with information about the origin or quality of the products. In these cases no trademark infringement before.

Such decorative uses can take various forms, including:

  1. Prints on clothing: Trademarks are sometimes used as part of designs or patterns on garments without the trademark identifying the actual manufacturer of the garment.
  2. Decorations on products: Brands can be applied as embellishments or decorative elements on products such as bags, shoes, furniture or accessories without identifying a brand origin.
  3. Artistic representations: In art or on works of art, trademarks can be used as artistic elements without identifying the source of the products or services depicted.
  4. Use in design and advertising materials: Brands can be used purely decoratively in design and advertising materials to achieve an aesthetic effect without a brand origin being in the foreground.

It is important to note that the decorative use of trademarks can raise certain legal issues in trademark law. The use of trademarks without the trademark owner's permission could lead to legal conflicts, especially if the use could cause confusion or give the impression that there is a connection between the artwork or decorated product and the trademark owner.

The assessment of whether a use can be considered ornamental depends on the specific circumstances, and courts consider factors such as actual use, consumer perception and the potential impact on brand provenance.

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