The provisions under Section 11(1)(b) and (c) of the Trade Marks Ordinance are the two common grounds for absolute refusal of registration of a trademark in Hong Kong.
Section 11(1)(b) of the TMO precludes from registration trademarks that are devoid of any distinctive character, whereas Section 11(1)(c) precludes from registration trademarks that consist exclusively of signs that are descriptive of the goods or services in respect of which registration is sought, or some characteristics of them.
Two cases have been decided recently on the issue of trademark registrability under these two absolute grounds for refusal. The first one concerns the mark ‘reverse’ in respect of backpacks, sports bags and handbags in Class 18.
In her statement of reasons for the decision, dated February 29, 2012, Janette Sham, the hearing officer, did not accord with the submissions made by the representative of the applicant that:
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TMO, Mark registration, Clothing, Reverse, characteristic word