While sitting in front of his keyboard today, the IPKat was musing on an issue of terminological interest. If they do not consist of words or logos, trade marks are often categorised as being "non-traditional". Examples of non-traditional marks include the smell of new-cut grass, the roar of a lion, the flavour of artificial strawberry and a person tapping the side of his nose with a finger.

Artificial strawberry: looks pretty enough, but would consumers want
to taste it in order to see if the product in front of them is the one they want?

The IPKat thinks this is not a very good term. For one thing, "traditional" and "non-traditional" are strange words for trade marks, since they suggest something that is handed down from generation to generation. Secondly, the words "non-traditional" do not convey sufficiently the rich vein of folly with which such marks should more appropriately be associated, particularly in areas such as smells, tastes and motion.

But what then should such marks be called? "Fringe marks", "wacky marks", "zany marks", "nutty marks" ...? The IPKat asks your advice. Do please post your constructive comments below.
THERE'S GOT TO BE A BETTER NAME? THERE'S GOT TO BE A BETTER NAME? Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, March 18, 2005 Rating: 5


  1. Since the defining factor in such "non-traditional" marks appears to be the lack of (direct) visual impact, perhaps a more appropriate terms would be "a-visual" or "non visual" marks. Or, at the risk of not be politically correct, one could refer to them as "blind" marks.

    Alternatively, if one accepts that sound marks - such as Intel's 4-note chime - are becoming more "traditional", one could use
    "non-audio-visual" , or (dread the thought), "deaf-blind" marks


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