Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 13:27 UK

Exclamation marks not trademarks!

Two exclamation marks, one in a box
The court ruled that even the box did not make the mark distinctive

An exclamation mark cannot be registered as a trademark, the European Court of First Instance has ruled.

The German clothing and perfume company Joop! applied to register the punctuation mark both on its own and inside a rectangle.

It decided that consumers would not automatically associate exclamation marks with the company.

It ruled that putting the exclamation mark in a rectangle just made it look like a label.

The court added that Joop! had failed to show that the exclamation mark would be associated with the company's products, and said that the evidence submitted had referred only to the German market, not the whole European Union.

The judgement said that "the only evidence submitted consists of three photos of jeans to which a piece of cloth, or a label, is attached showing an exclamation mark", which the court decided was inadequate.

Joop! was appealing against an initial ruling by OHIM, the European trademark office.

Print Sponsor

eBay wins L'Oreal UK court case
22 May 09 |  Business
Brewer loses appeal on Budweiser
25 Mar 09 |  Business
Google in court over Vuitton row
17 Mar 09 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific